A Cage Went in Search of a Bird

Reading A Cage Went in Search of a Bird is like holding a little piece of the most beautiful fall day you’ve ever seen in your hands.

Banafsheh Erfanian’s illustrations are rich in cozy reds, warm browns, crisp blues, and earthy greens. I wanted to curl up in the pages and stay there, taking in the view.

This children’s book is written by Cary Fagan, who is exploring the Franz Kafka aphorism “A cage went in search of a bird.” The point being, maybe, that there is a cage for every bird. Or a bird for every cage? The story lost me right off the bat because when the cage encourages the first bird it sees to hop on in and enjoy a lovely perch, the bird says, “Why do I need your perch when I can sit on any branch in any tree I like?”

As someone who is at least trying to adult, I immediately checked out, because, of course, this is the more compelling question: why would you get into a cage? Don’t we spend every second as adults trying to escape our metaphorical cages? And here is a literal cage trying to convince a free bird to hop on in. Are we grooming four to six year old children for cubicles already? #cynicism

But as we say in marketing: I’m not the target market. I can accept this and look at the pictures instead. I particularly like the way the cage starts out a lovely copper colour and as it adventures outside looking for the right fit, turns the alive, warm green that all copper does, when exposed to the elements. We should all age so well.

Cary Fagan appeared in Events 5 (A Feast of Fun), 21 (A Series of Adventures), 72 (The Interviews) and 77 (Fact AND Fiction) at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Fest.

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