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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,829 ratings  ·  288 reviews
It's time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn't as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama's message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Chronicle Books (first published August 5th 2014)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,829 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a charming and humorous telling of the game "telephone".
Richie Partington
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Richie's Picks: TELEPHONE by Mac Barnett and Jen Corace, ill., Chronicle, September 2014, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-1023-9

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh lord please don’t let me be misunderstood”
-- a song from the sixties written for Nina Simone and made famous by The Animals

For those of you who, like me, once-upon-a-time sat on the curb with the neighborhood kids playing Telephone, you know how funny it is to hear the garbled message that emerges from the other end of that chain
La Coccinelle
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
This book is a funny depiction of the classic game of Telephone, with a bunch of wacky birds doing their best to pass on their message. The birds are anthropomorphized and have hobbies, so each time the message is passed along, it changes in a way particular to the messenger. It's a cute idea, made even better by the adorable illustrations. How can you not smile at a little blue jay rocking out on his electric guitar?

How will Peter ever get the correct message after it's passed through the minds
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-at-heart
Seriously one of the funniest kids books that I have read in a long time! I read it with my sister (I'm 26 and she's 35) and we were laughing so hard that I went out and bought her a copy too! I will even admit that we read it like three times in one setting. When you find a good laugh you gotta live off the giggle high as long as you can! Who said picture books were only for kids? May I never grow up! Amen!

Erika's Amazon Link
Watercolor, ink, gouache, and pencil illustrations filled with primary colors follow a simple text telling a familiar story about how messages are distorted. Whether because they are misheard or deliberately misinterpreted, the original message often bears little resemblance to the one the hearer finally hears in a game of "Telephone." In this case, the message to fly home for supper is passed from one bird to the next until an owl somehow manages to correctly interpret a nonverbal message and ...more
Becky B
Birds on a wire pass on a message for Peter. It starts out to just tell him to come home for dinner, but others add all sorts of things to the message along the way until the next to the last bird delivers an epic garbled message. Thankfully, a wise old owl is there to save the day.

I was expecting more of a traditional telephone game style message where each bird just messes up the original message a little bit. I wasn't expecting each bird to have their own individual note for Peter. And I
Oct 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more picture book reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Peter's mom has dinner prepared and asks Peter's baseball buddy to tell him to fly home for dinner. As he passes the message on to another bird down the wire the message gets garbled due to his own interests. Will Peter ever get his message to come home?

I love picture books with messages and I'm not sure this qualifies, though an adult could easily link it to telling rumors, but the end does kind of kill the message that telling
Brooke Williams
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a reader, I thought this was a fun and cute picture book. I enjoyed how the owl at the end is the one who finally realizes that what is being said is not making much sense and corrects it. I found that clever since owls are always considered wise.
As a future teacher, I think this would be a great book to share in the classroom. It will teach the students to be careful about what they say and to make sure that it is the truth. It demonstrates how easily words can become distorted or
Amy Forrester
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Peter’s mom wants him to come home for dinner. So she passes the message down the bird covered telephone wire. Unfortunately, the birds get the message a little confused. Will Peter understand it when it finally gets to him? The playfully humorous all dialogue text is perfect for an elementary aged audience. Corace’s watercolor, ink, gouache, and pencil illustrations feature soft colors, precise edges, and visual humor galore. Follow up with your own game of telephone.

Full Review at
Ann Haefele
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mac Barnett is fast becoming a new favorite author of mine. This book is a fun portrayal of how our words get misinterpreted, and it will remind the reader of the "telephone" game with mixed up results. Each bird and its outfit gives a hint of his or her misinterpretation of the message. This would be a good book to read when talking to children about gossip.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Numerous birds on a telephone wire pass along a message to Peter from his mother, each bird changing the message. Fun twist at the end. Lots of details to examine and use to infer the personality of each bird.
Kristine Hansen
The best part of this story - the turkey on the wire. Funny bit of a game of telephone. I would have liked it better if there had been a more gradual progression of garbling, but given what everyone is shown to think about, the whole thing still makes sense and is fun to read.

3.5 stars.
Karen A.
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Just exactly how it happens - could have been a power point on how everyone gets the wrong information - I see lots of lesson plans with the game telephone coupled with this book. Possibly even a TED talk.

Should be good for just plain ol' storytime too!!
Ryan M. Hanna
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Too cute!
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Such a cute book with a fun ending!
Melissa Rochelle
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved the illustrations. And the wise owl who saw through all the crazy is awesome. Lots of silly, fun here!
Heydi Smith
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-storytime
Hilarious!!!! A must read - over and over again! Then play telephone and watch what happens. :)

This book would pair perfectly with Ophelia by Ingred Schubert. One of my all time favorite books.
Edward Sullivan
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
An absurd, witty take on the Telephone game that will give kids lots to giggle about.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mac Barnett is awesome. A game of telephone with bids (perched on a telephone wire-- which my kids found fascinating...the notion of wired phones)-- smart, interesting, fun. A+
The Reading Countess

Tangible way to teach kids to go to the source, to not believe everything they hear, to realize that friends’ perceptions and what they in turn tell us are formed largely by their own experiences—and often have nothing to do with us at all.

Read this aloud at the beginning of the year to set the tone for a mutually respectful classroom.

Chiara Calò
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Incredibly funny book! A bit too crazy for preschoolers, perhaps. I have to admit I was not familiar with the game of telephone, so I had a little trouble understanding the story.
Nice illustrations of the various birds engrossed in their hobbies.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Barnett and Corace inject life into the old “pass it on” game of Telephone; a number of birds sit in a line on a telephone wire above houses. A maternal looking pigeon, wants a simple message delivered: ‘Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner,” she says to a cardinal who holds a baseball hat. The bird reflects on the message and adapts the message according to his own love for baseball, telling the goose next to him, “Tell Peter: Hit pop flies and homers.” The goose wears a pilot’s cap and aviator’s ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good for an LOL!
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Remember playing telephone as a child? Someone would whisper something in someone’s ear and down the row it would go, whispering, whispering, just hoping that when the last person spoke out loud what they heard it would be what the first person said. Sometimes it would be so funny what they said, it would take a few minutes to calm everyone down. When you tried to figure out who whispered the wrong words, people were always pointing fingers. I was always afraid of being the one who would mess it ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A mother bird wants her son Peter to come home for dinner, so she sends the message down the telephone line, literally. It moves from one bird to the next, but the message immediately gets garbled as each bird adds their own take. Readers will notice that each bird has its own interests that are added to the message and that the illustrations give hints about the topics that will be included that time. This is a clever twist on the children’s game of telephone, one that has hilarious results and ...more
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a clever little play on the telephone game. Quite ridiculous in a good way, with each bird adding on their own twist impacted by their personal interests.
A fun illustrated version of the game Telephone, the message transmitted courtesy of an eclectic collection of birds on a phone line. Will the message get to Peter Pigeon in time to make it home for dinner? And will he even understand it when it reaches him?

I enjoyed the different birds, and how their hobbies obviously affected what they were hearing. I also enjoyed the connections between certain birds and their activities - the cardinal with a baseball bat, for example (any St Louis fans out
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: educ-422
"Telephone" is based on the classic game, Telephone or Whisper Down the Lane. This book is about a group of birds sitting on a telephone line. In this story, Peter's mom tells the bird sitting next to her on the line to tell her son it is time to fly home for dinner ("Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.". That bird tells his neighbor, and the neighbor then tells the bird sitting next to him. As each bird passes down the message, the words get mixed up. Finally, by the time the message makes it down ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Birds pass a message along the telephone wire: Tell Peter to fly home for dinner. The message undergoes some changes along the way...
So, I wasn't sure about this one. A few of the messages (like the baseball bird who says, "Pop flies and homers," or the one dressed like a pilot who says, "Prop planes are for fliers,") seemed like they would go over the kids' heads, but the kids seemed to follow it well enough. We talked about each bird briefly before we turned the page.
At the end, you get to a
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Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac Barnett now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.
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