Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: The Conference of the Birds ~ by Peter Sis

conference of birds

A review by Shellie: The Conference of the Birds ~ by Peter Sis

A lovely hardbound book that is mostly art and a bit of written poetic philosophizing. It’s a rendition of a twelfth-century Sufi poem and is done in predominantly fall colors with a mix of ancient and modern styles.

About:  A conference of birds is led on a quest by a poet who has turned into a hoopoe bird after a disturbing dream. Gathering them together, he wishes to know the reason for all the wrongs in the world and a way to change them. But to do so they must find the king – Simorgh.

As they travel a long and arduous distance, the birds come to realize that each of them is but a tiny piece of an immense and larger whole. Flying through the daunting terrain (valleys of tribulations and mazes) to reach their goal, most will not survive the trip. But those that do will receive a gift - a realization that what they are seeking from their quest can be found inside each of them.

Thoughts:  Read several times over, allowing the art and poetry to settle, this book gets better with each subsequent read. It’s deep message is told metaphorically, visually, and simply, with a spiritual twist that transcends religion. A tale which moves us to know we are all on a journey to one place, a trip which many may not entirely understand.

It has only a small amount of writing but mostly images that appear to be tempera paint and carved block print on beautiful thick colored paper (I would love to see the author’s originals). The images are done in warm earth tones except for the culmination of the story where Peter Sis uses cool and vivid colors to give the crescendo a significant visual meaning. Importantly the art work feels both ancient and modern giving the impression that it is an old story told in a new way.

A relevant rendition that is just as meaningful today as it was a thousand years ago. I can see this book sitting on an office or home table, or in front of a comfortable chair or sofa, since it is a relaxing read. This is a terrific holiday gift for a special person, professional, or family. I give this book a 4 star rating. I loved it and will read it again.


160 pages | 27 Oct 2011 | The Penguin Press | 18 - AND UP

Author Bio:   Born in Brno, in the former Czechoslovakia, in 1949, Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author, and filmmaker. He is the author of twenty children’s books and a seven-time winner of the The New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year. He lives in the New York City area with his wife and children. Visit Peter at his website.

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This book is part of a tour. Please click on the badge to find more information and reviews for this book. For your convenience here are 3 recent reviews for this book.

Thanks for reading.

4 comments:

trish said...

"It’s deep message is told metaphorically, visually, and simply, with a spiritual twist that transcends religion."

I love books like this because they're timeless, and every time you read them you can come away with a different message. I'm really into self-reflection, so this is something that would speak to me especially.

Thanks for being on the tour!

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Thanks Trish for having me... it is a lovely book. One I think you would enjoy.

Looking forward to the next tour.

LE CHEMIN DES GRANDS JARDINS said...

Ce livre à l'air passionnant. Je voulais ajouter que j'aime la musique Soufi et qu'il m'est arrivé, à plusieurs reprises de voir un spectacle de danse Soufi, accompagné de musique. C'est d'une pureté et d'une beauté surprenante.
J'aime beaucoup l'illustration de ce livre, également.

Belle soirée,

Roger

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Roger -

Merci pour votre réponse. Je pense que vous apprécierez ce livre mais ne trouverez pas autre chose que sa beauté et peut-être certains de son art du soufisme. Je pense néanmoins que vous apprécierez ce livre autant que moi.

Je tiens à remercier Google pour sa traduction car je ne parle que quelques mots de français. S'il vous plaît exuse mon akwardness.

J'espère que vous avez une belle soirée aussi.

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