The Songbird: An Unlikely Song

Cherie Smith

Publisher: LifeRich Publishing Pages: 26 Price: (paperback) $16.99 ISBN: 9781489747204 Reviewed: February, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

The tale of Adam, Eve, and God’s promise to mankind is seen through the eyes of a songbird in Cherie Smith’s picture book The Songbird: An Unlikely Song.

On the fifth day of creation, “The Most High God” creates the birds. All creatures are made to be extraordinary in different ways, the book states, and the songbird, although plain-looking, has a beautiful voice. All is well— until Satan convinces the humans to eat from the forbidden tree. Then the animals suddenly begin to feel sadness, and when the songbirds try to sing, they can only emit “a low sigh.” God comforts His creatures, explaining that one day He will send a savior and “restore the earth…[to a] beautiful, perfect place of joy.”

This animal-centric retelling of Adam and Eve’s banishment from Eden, is handled in gentler terms than the Bible; after learning of the humans’ sin, God is described as looking “sad,” but not “angry.” Satan isn’t pictured, but God is portrayed as a ghost-like Jesus Christ.

The Adam and Eve Bible story is abstract by nature and difficult for children to comprehend. Unfortunately, there’s little here to ameliorate the problem. For example, God tells the songbird, “Once your song was filled with joy and unending praise. Now it will tell the sadness and loss of sin.” There’s little explanation of “sin” or why things are now sorrowful. Also, in talking about the new fallen world, God tells the birds that “though [their song] may sound sad. It is not!” This is confusing because birds’ songs are generally regarded as sounding happy, not sad; indeed, a final image shows two birds singing merrily on a telephone wire.

The text is dense on several pages, and grammar errors—largely missing commas—also mar the offering. At one point, the author writes: “God had given them so many wonderful trees to eat…”
Ultimately, this Bible story fails to meet its young readers on a level they can access.

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