Picture Book Review: Really Bird 1-2

I Really Want to Be First! by Harriet Ziefert

I Really Want to Be First!: A Really Bird Story (Really Bird Stories, #1)
by Harriet Ziefert, Travis Foster (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator)

1 out of 5 stars

Really Bird has intense emotions, and he “really” wants to be the leader today. His friends, the Pup and Cat, agree to be the followers, and Really Bird leads them to a tree and tells them to climb while he flies up to the top of the tree. Pup tells them that he is not a good climber, but Cat and Really Bird encourage him to climb up. They get up to the top of the tree, and Pup is too scared to get down! Cat has to take the lead and carefully help the terrified Pup to climb down. Really Bird flies down, and argues with his friends that he was the first one on the ground. His friends argue for a moment, but then decide to let it go. Really Bird says, “Today I really wanted to be first, and I was!”

I don’t understand this book. Really Bird is a horrible little person. He leads his friends into danger, and then doesn’t even apologize to them for being so insensitive and stupid. The Pup told Really Bird that he was not a good climber, but Really Bird didn’t listen to his friend. He didn’t care that his friend was not enjoying their activity. Really Bird only thought about himself. Selfish mean little bird! What a horrible leader!


And what pathetic friends that don’t have strong boundaries to stand up for themselves. They should not have “let it go” at the end. They should have insisted that Really Bird take responsibility for his bad decisions and apologize to his friends. But they just forgive him and let him be the leader again as if nothing is wrong. Talk about a toxic co-dependent relationship!

The last page has discussion questions, and I expected the questions to be things like, ‘Why was Really Bird so selfish? Is it okay to be selfish if you “really” want something? What could Really Bird have done differently to be a better leader and a better friend? What can we do to listen to our friends and keep them safe?’

But NO. The actual questions were “Do you like to be first? Have you had an argument about who was first? What happened? Did you win? Or did you move on? How many “firsts” can you think of? Draw pictures to show who’s first.” These were the actual questions at the end of the book! I was shocked! They make it sounds like winning and being first is the most important thing.

What a terrible moral message in this book! I don’t understand this at all. Is it suddenly a good thing to be selfish and inconsiderate? We should push everyone else aside in our desire to be first? This book makes no sense.

The only good thing about this book is the adorable illustrations! I love the colorful pages, and the cute artwork. If only the story wasn’t so absolutely horrid.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

I Really Want a Bigger Piece by Harriet Ziefert

I Really Want a Bigger Piece: A Really Bird Story (Really Bird Stories, #2)
by Harriet Ziefert, Travis Foster (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator)

1 out of 5 stars

Really Bird has intense emotions, and today he is really hungry and wants the biggest piece of pie. He is so greedy that he will even argue with his friends about it, and insist that they give him their own pie so that he can have more. The Pup has the biggest piece of pie, because he is the biggest. Cat has a medium piece, and Really Bird has the smallest piece, because he is too small to eat a large portion. Cat complains that their piece is crumbling and doesn’t have enough crust and the filling is coming out. Pup “solves the problem” by giving Cat some extra crust. Really Bird complains that his piece is too small, so Pup cuts his own piece into a smaller piece and gives some off his own plate to Really Bird. Instead of thanking his friend, Really Bird complains that it is still not enough and yells for more. Pup gives Really Bird more pie, and Really Bird is finally happy and devours some pie. After they have all eaten, there is one slice left. Really Bird claims it for himself, until some woodland animals who have been playing nearby say they are hungry too. Really Bird agrees to share the last slice of pie with all three of them.

I don’t understand the moral message of this book. This makes no sense. Really Bird is disgustingly greedy. Cat is picky and always whining. They are all ungrateful, discontented, and greedy. I can’t believe that they manipulated Pup into giving up most of his own pie, and that he let them! Pup has such awful boundaries, and lets his selfish friends walk all over him. Pup is not “solving the problem” by giving in to his friends and giving them more. The problem is not the distribution of the pie. The problem is their greedy selfish behavior. And if Pup would stand up to them and make them take responsibility for their bad manners and bad attitudes, then maybe they would learn to be more considerate. This friendship is so toxic.

And then at the end, the poor woodland animals ask to have the last piece, and instead of giving the THREE of them the one last little piece to share between the THREE of them, Really Bird takes his own share of the last piece too! After having devoured half the pie, he won’t just give the last piece to someone else? The last piece is already being split three ways, but Really Bird just has to have his nasty beak in there too. He can’t be generous, even after taking extra pie from his friend’s plate? I don’t understand this! This bird is evil! I think it’s supposed to be like, ‘Aw, Really Bird learned to share!’ But he didn’t learn anything! He should not be ‘sharing’ at this point. After having stuffed his own beak with massive amounts of pie, he should be GIVING the last piece away to others.

As a child, I was taught to be grateful for what you are given and not whine about the crust crumbling or about the size of the piece you get. I was taught to be generous and not greedy. I was taught that if your friend has a bigger piece, you are happy for your friend, not jealous.
What is this book teaching children?!

The last page in the book has discussion questions, which I expected to say things like, ‘Why was it ungrateful of Cat to complain about the crust crumbling? Why did Really Bird have such bad manners? Is it okay to be greedy if you ‘really’ want something?’

But the actual discussion questions are “Have you ever asked for a bigger piece? Did you eat it all up?” What happens if your piece of pie is broken? Did you ever have an argument about whose piece of pie, or cake, is better? What happened? Who solved the problem? Did a grown-up help?”
I was shocked at these questions! Those are the questions that we should ask ourselves at the end of this toxic story?

The only good thing about this book is the adorable illustrations! I love the colorful pages, and the cute artwork. If only the story wasn’t so absolutely horrid.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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