Cover image for The song of six birds
The song of six birds
Deetlefs, Rene.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 2000.

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Wishing to make beautiful music, Lindiwe captures the songs of six birds in her new flute.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.7 0.5 41531.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When Lindiwe's mother first presents her with a flute, the young girl can hardly wait to play beautiful music on it. What a disappointment that the flute is empty and can only make a sound that causes the dog to howl! Fortunately, Lindiwe knows where to find music for her flute. She catches the trumpeting mahem of the crane, the bright tock-tocki-tock of the hornbill--even the soft doo-doo-doo of the shy rainbird. With the song of six birds filling her new flute, Lindiwe hurries home, gathering the people of her village with the irresistible tune that she plays.Rene Deetlefs, one of South Africa's most beloved children's book authors, has given this story an authentic voice and a lively rhythm that make it perfect for reading aloud. The lyrical text is complemented by Lyn Gilbert's brilliantly colored paintings of a busy, loving community and a soulfully musical young girl who knows exactly how to capture the sweet melodies of her homeland.

Author Notes

Rene Deetlefs lives in South Africa.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3^-5. In this contemporary African tale, Lindewe wakes to find a flute next to her sleeping mat. "It is for you, the child who loves music," says her mother. But when Lindewe plays, the flute produces a horrible sound. She sets off in search of music and finds it in the local birdsongs, which she captures in her instrument and plays for her rejoicing neighbors. Lindewe's village, painted in attractive, flat, sun-soaked images of idealized daily life, is never identified directly with a specific country or culture in Africa. The author and illustrator are identified as South African, and South African birds are mentioned by name, but children may not pick up on those clues. Such omissions create a frustrating, falsely generalized view of Africa, but the story is appealing in its portrayals of a mother who nurtures her child's talents, and a child with both knowledge of and magical appreciation for the natural world. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

The South African team paired for Tabu and the Dancing Elephants here presents a sliver of a story centering on a girl "in search of music for her flute." Strolling through her African village, Lindiwe asks six birds--a crowned crane, hornbill, rainbird, hoopoe, Paradise flycatcher and wood owl--to "share" their sounds with her. When each obliges, its signature call (reproduced phonetically, e.g., "Whoo-hu... whoo-hu-hu") enters her instrument. As the winged creatures follow her home, the child plays her flute and the birds "all made music while she ran." Oddly, while readers see speech balloons of the birds' utterances entering the flute, no pictorial representation of the sounds reappears even though the text claims that "the air was filled the music of Lindiwe's flute--and the song of six birds." Gilbert's unadorned, brightly hued pictures portray Lindiwe's fellow villagers as an obviously appreciative audience, but the narrative fails to foster a similar enthusiasm in readers. Ages 3-9. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-Lindiwe has a new flute that makes a dreadful noise when she blows into it. As she journeys through the South African countryside looking for music, she meets different people and six birds that share their sounds with her. The repetitive nature of the story and the language used create a natural pace for reading aloud. Children will enjoy imitating the rhythmic birdcalls as the narrative carries them along to a happy celebration when Lindiwe's music calls the others to dance and sing through the night. Gilbert's flat, folk-art illustrations are reminiscent of South African designs and perfectly complement the text. The black outlined images of Lindiwe and the other villagers dressed in bright reds and oranges are set off by background colors of green and brown. The vivid illustrations capture the child's supportive community and the typical activities in her small village. A charming story for group reading.-Tali Balas, Ethnical Culture Fieldstone School, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.