March 24, 2022


189 Canaries by Dieter Böge and Elsa Klever and translated by Laura Watkinson is a third-person narration of a Harz Mountain canary's journey to the United States.

Miners of the Harz Mountains will bring canaries into the underground tunnels with them to use as a warning system: when the canary stops singing, fresh air is running out! One small yellow canary loves singing for his humans, both inside the mines and inside his humans' dining room, but one day a stranger comes and takes him away from all he knows. Thus begins the journey of a lifetime, as the canary travels across the Atlantic with 188 other canaries, trying to find his place in a new world he doesn't recognize.

The mixed media illustrations alternate between showing readers the canary's point of view and a bird's-eye view (pun intended!) where readers can see a much larger picture of what's going on. The colors are vibrant throughout and the color and illustration styles are both reminiscent of older, folkloric tales, with lots of pastoral and floral imagery combined with longer blocks of text that consistently appear on a single page within a spread. The backmatter of the book also provides some fascinating information on the history of canaries.

189 Canaries published last year from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

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