Hilda and the Bird Parade – Luke Pearson

3 out of 5

The most “standard” book of the Hilda series yet, but still driven by Hilda’s inherent eagerness and curiosity, and Pearson’s blending of lore with imaginative children’s fare.

Hilda and the Bird Parade finds our titular young lass and her mum now living in Trollberg, the former adjusting to the different wonders the city holds, with her matriarch now on higher alert given the bustle of the city, and a bit more hesitant to let her daughter out to wander. But the arrival of some school chums gives Hilda the buffer she needs to go explore, and after discovering that maybe her idea of fun doesn’t match that of the other kids’, she gets mixed up with a, uh, talking bird, the duo helping each other out in the lead up to a yearly celebratory “bird parade.”

The aforementioned standardness is in how this fits more into a “lesson” style book – be yourself; help others – as well as slotting mother and daughter into clear roles. A talking animal is also somewhat the norm for kid’s books, and doesn’t quite feel as unique as the weaving in of myths the other books have offered.

But the generally upbeat vibe and Hilda’s unending earnestness still make for very readable fare. The moral stuff is done really well, showing us via Hilda’s actions instead of having someone explain it to us, and talking animals being “normal” doesn’t distill the humor Pearson inserts into the quirky dialogue. As an artist, Pearson’s still working through streamlining things, now shifting to a slightly more animated look, which he executes with confidence. A larger world map is our extra, suggesting we might continue to expand even beyond Trollberg in the future…