This beautiful, poignant book introduces readers to the little-known history of a beloved songbird. Lushly illustrated in rich colors, 189 Canaries is an unforgettable story about music, migration, and the search for home.
In a cozy room in northern Germany, a yellow canary sings rolling melodies to the miners and carpenters of the Harz mountains. But today a bird dealer has come, and he will take the canary far, far away from everything he knows. The journey leads onto trains and steamships, across Europe and even the Atlantic. At last the canary arrives in a room in New York where he hears a strangely familiar song…
This is the story of a long journey,
but I’ll keep it as short as I can,
because it has such a lovely ending.
In a cozy room that smells a little like freshly sawed wood, a canary sits in his cage and looks out the window. He can see the sky and almost half of a large spruce tree, and—in the distance—a forest on a hill. The cage and the room are his home. Right now, he’s alone, because the people he lives with are busy doing other things. He can hear the voices of the women and the children in the house and in the garden. In the evening, he’ll be able to hear the men again, too.
During the day, the men dig deep underground inside a mine, looking for silver. The canary has often gone with them under the earth and sung for them. When the air starts to run out, he stops singing. Then the miners know they need to bring themselves and the canary to safety. They leave the underground tunnels and take their birds out with them into the fresh air. Today, though, our canary has the day off.
A girl is waiting at the front door of the house to welcome the bird. She carries the cage down the hallway, up the stairs, and into a room that smells a little like freshly sawed wood. By the window, there’s a big new birdcage. Its door is open wide. There’s a canary sitting on top of the cage. It looks over at them. When it starts to sing, it’s a song that it could only have learned in one place in the whole world.