Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger has attended 247 funerals. But that's not surprising, considering that her family runs the town funeral home. And even though Great-uncle Edisto keeled over with a heart attack and Great-great-aunt Florentine dropped dead--just like that--six months later, Comfort knows how to deal with loss, or so she thinks. She's more concerned with avoiding her crazy cousin Peach and trying to figure out why her best friend, Declaration, suddenly won't talk to her. Life is full of surprises. And the biggest one of all is learning what it takes to handle them.
Deborah Wiles has created a unique, funny, and utterly real cast of characters in this heartfelt, and quintessentially Southern coming-of-age novel. Comfort will charm young readers with her wit, her warmth, and her struggles as she learns about life, loss, and ultimately, triumph.
Deborah Wiles is the author of several highly acclaimed books, including the beloved LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER and two National Book Award finalists--EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS and REVOLUTION. Her first picture book, FREEDOM SUMMER, received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. She is also an NAACP Book Award finalist, E.B. White Award winner, Golden Kite Award winner, Jane Addams Peace Award Finalist, and recipient of a PEN Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. Her newest book is the YA novel KENT STATE. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. You can visit her on the web at deborahwiles.com, follow her on IG at @deborahwiles_ or Twitter at @DeborahWiles101
I have read Each Little Bird That Sings twenty-seven times. One summer, I read it three times in one week. In seventh grade I could recite the first five pages from memory. Though slightly childish, Each Little Bird That Sings remains, to this day, my favourite book. Deborah Wiles created characters I considered some of my best friends. I cried when they cried, laughed when they laughed, saw what they saw. Comfort became my sister, Peach my cousin. I was mad at Declaration, and I missed Great-great-aunt Florentine. Each Little Bird That Sings is intense, thought-provoking, and moving. Deborah Wiles links family, friendship, pets, death, and tuna sandwiches with a graceful plot line, and I can't help but read it over and over and over.
Can I just say how much I lovedlovedloved this book? Incredible characterization. Quirky, unique names. Heart-wrenching speeches. Wow.
Deborah Wiles has such talent. I was in Snapfinger, Mississippi. I could see the inside of Snowberger's Funeral Home. I was terrified on the rock with Comfort and Dismay. (And annoying Peach.) I wanted to slap Declaration's snooty face. And I was most definitely inside Comfort's closet with her as she sat with her mayonnaise jar of freshly-sharpened pencils.
I knew nothing of the premise. Sometimes when we go to the library I get a random book and this was one.
I thought the first chapter was interesting but after that my interest went downhill. It's about a tightknit family that owns a funeral home & loses 2 family members; told in the narrative of a 10-yr-old girl... Cool? Nope.
I skimmed most of the book until the end. I was very bored. The storyline would not get to the point.
All the characters had stupid names like Peach, Comfort, Tidings, Declarations... I felt like I was in the Kardashian household.
Favorite Quotes: “A real friend sees past the trouble and into your heart.” “It takes courage to look life in the eye and say yes to the messy glory.” “Open your arms to life! Let it strut into your heart in all its messy glory!” “It’s not how you die that makes the important impression, it’s how you live.” “Everything had a grand purpose, and there was nothing amiss in the universe; it was our job to adjust to whatever came our way.” “Think of disappointment as a happy little surprise.” “There’s always something good to come out of disappointment.” “Death doesn’t respect plans or the weather.” “Death is hard. Death is sad. But death is part of life. When someone you know dies, it’s your job to keep on living.” “We live to serve.”
I read it on the way back from our phenomenal trip to the mountains. It is sad in nature but light-hearted too. And at one point in the novel, the tears flooded and I pretty much cried all the way home. I stopped thirty pages short of finishing because it was just too intense...but I have to say, if you plan to read the book, give yourself a good three hours to read it non-stop because it really does build up and provide that overall "feeling" of the nature of the story.
It is a wonderful story. Sweet, sweet, sweet as can be. The characters are so heartwarmingly adorable. The story is richly fresh and pure. I don't know quite how to describe how enjoyable this book is to read -- to live in it's 259 page world was a great pleasure.
The protagonist of this beautiful novel is 10 year old Comfort Snowberger. Comfort lives with her family, who run the town of Snapfinger, Mississippi's funeral home. And death, while constant in this family business, is not a way to be sad always but to live life...and liver to serve.
We meet Comfort's family & friends: Declaration - her BFF, Dismay - Funeral Dog extraordinaire, Peach - her annoying cousin, Great-Uncle Edisto - a favorite uncle, Tidings - her big brother, and Great-Great-Aunt Florentine...among many many other wonderful people.
I don't want to tell too much of the story as I believe, the element of its spell would be broken if I breathed one word of it.
I had no idea what this book was truly before reading it and thus I became enraptured with Comfort and her story. I laughed. I got mad. I got very mad. I laughed. I hurt. And then I cried. And cried...and cried.
This year is a year for me to read multiple books by one author: Stephanie Meyers, Anita Diamant and now, Deborah Wiles...for there is no way I can not NOT read more of her books.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Oh how I love this tale! Told from the perspective of ten year old Comfort Snowberger whose family owns the small town funeral home, this is such a delightful book that each page is filled with humor, poignancy and wisdom.
No stranger to the grief of others, Comfort witnessed 247 funerals. When funeral #248 is that of her beloved Great, Great Aunt Florence, quickly followed by funeral #248 of loving, kind Uncle Edisto, Comfort realizes that "Life is full of surprises, not all of them good."
When her childhood friend betrays her and her cousin Peach gets on her every last nerve, she has her wonderful dog Dismay to get her through.
spoiler --- When Dismay tragically is lost, Comfort's grief is severe. Realizing that we grieve in equal measure to the love we received and give, Comfort incredibly shines through.
This is a book of hope, of sunshine through the rain, of images that melt your heart and then make you laugh right out loud.
With characters named Tidings, Comfort, Dismay, Baby Merry, Declaration and Peach, the creativity leaps from the pages.
After reading Love, Ruby Lavender with my 10 year old granddaughter and enjoying it so much, we continued on with the second book of Aurora County. While Ruby Lavender is not a character in this book, there were just as endearing characters in Each Little Bird That Sings. The author handles situations of young people experiencing death of a loved one in a special way (might I say a Southern way). This book will make you laugh out loud and shed a few tears (even grandmothers!). I have to say I mostly agree with Comfort about her cousin Peach, he was annoying most of the time! Funny that a lot of the family has names from the Christmas carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!
Each Little Bird that Sings is a great book about friendship, trust, and funerals. Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger has attended 247 funerals. But that's not a surprise because her family runs a funeral home. She has learned how to deal with loss and/or what she thinks. What was in her way was that her crazy cousin Peach and her best friend Declaration has been mysteriously quiet. Life is full of surprises, the events that turn out in this book are mesmerizing. Confort is a smart, emotional, stubborn, and friendly kid. She knows things about loss, but after losing her dog, she is completely new to the subject. The author, Deborah Wiles, portrays the main character very well. She also has appointed very unique characteristics to the characters in the book. This book is a very enjoyable book I would recommend this book to people who are interested in this book. I hope you have the chance to read this awesome book.
The Snowberger family owns and operates a funeral home in Snapfinger, Mississippi. The three children—named Tidings, Comfort and Merry (the last presumably because the mom’s name is already Joy) have grown up around death, and they understand it in a healthy and respectful kind of way.
Toddler Merry naps in an empty casket while her parents work and has a little bit of trouble distinguishing between people who are sleeping and those who are actually dead. Thirteen year old Tidings (who must be based on the same person in Deborah Wiles' life that inspired Uncle Otts in her later book "Countdown.")keeps the grounds shipshape and directs parking for large funerals.
And because the kids attend every funeral hosted by the business, 10-year-old Comfort has been to 247 of them. She also submits hilarious obituaries to the local newspaper, “Life Notices by Comfort Snowberger: Explorer, Recipe Tester, and Funeral Reporter."
This is a difficult time in Comfort's life as she deals with the deaths of beloved older family members as well as a bad break-up with her best friend, and she has been put in charge of her annoying, whining, nervous little cousin Peach. And nothing in her experience, where death is just a usual part of life, prepares her for true loss. I can’t remember the last time I cried so hard at the end of a book. The story is beautifully warm, funny, honest, heartbreaking, and heartening. It’s probably my favorite book this year.
Just, what? This book took me from amused to tears-streaming-down-my-cheeks in like ten pages. And it was wonderful. I can't talk about much without giving stuff away. (It's a kids' chapter book, you say, how surprising can it be? As surprising as a book with a dog named Dismay and a cousin named Peach might be.) Just, yeah. I loved it. Way more than I expected to. So much whimsy wrapped up in reality and death and life and flowers. My one complaint: we never actually find out why Declaration turned mean in the first place. In a way, I like it? Cause I can guess at her reasons in my head and come up with good ideas, but kids might not be able to. Also, as much as I loved so much of this, it needed Jesus. Their hope and faith and joy was real, but it was shallow because it wasn't founded on anything solid. They needed Jesus' hope. Now obviously I can read this as a Christian and think, yes, I have this same joy because ______. Or, I should have joy like that because ______. But Jesus is clearly missing from the book itself. As He is from many books. But yeah, I want more Deborah Wiles, please and thank you.
After finishing Love, Ruby Lavender I immediately started the second book in the loosely connected Aurora County series. Each Little Bird That Sings was just chock-full of wonderful characters. I loved Comfort, I loved her family. They were all so wonderfully drawn and believable. Comfort is the same age as my daughter and I could hear and see my daughter in Comfort. She was such a realistic character. Like Love, Ruby Lavender the story deals with death and packs a bit of an emotional punch but Wiles tells a beautiful story.
I love Deborah Wiles writing and I love this book!
Excellent narrator and book. Wonderful characters. I am not sure how to describe this book. Most of the book deals with death and celebrating life (and celebrating those who have died). It's a difficult topic, but this book handles it so well. It's very sad in certain parts, but ultimately has a good outcome. Highly recommend.
The perfect book after a year of both mourning my papa’s death and losing my dog for 12 days. Comfort shares some of life’s most important lessons dealing with friendship, family, and death... with bells on.
“Each Little Bird That Sings” by Deborah Wiles GR Level: T, Lexile Level: 800, Grade: 5, Publisher: Harcourt Inc., 2005, Genre: Children’s Fiction, Chapter Book, Pages: 247 Comfort Snowberger is a young girl whose family owns a funeral parlor and has been given the responsibility of taking care of her young cousin Peach. Comfort is “used to” funerals and knows the in-and-outs of her family’s business. When her aunt dies unexpectedly however, she must confront death in a different manner. This makes it her 248 funeral but this time there is nowhere to hide and nobody to avoid but her family. Comfort must come to terms with the grief this has brought especially when her uncle later dies as well and her best friend starts acting very mean. With the help of her dog, Dismay, Comfort has to resist sitting in her closet alone and come out and be with her family in their time of need. This story gives a look into the perspective of a loss in a family from a young girl’s point of view. It also shows the responsibilities that some people have and how they are affected when tragedy strikes. One teaching idea would be to have the students write a letter to someone in their life that has died. It could be a family member, friend or even a celebrity for the students who may not have experienced a loss. The students would have to include why they miss this person, what was special about them and if they could see them for one more day, what they would do together. (W.5.4, W.5.2) Another teaching idea would be to have a discussion with all students about some of the challenges Comfort faced within the book. The students would then give ways and helpful hints to Comfort about how she could confront her problems and help herself and her family. (W.5.1)
I thought this book would be a happy book, but it turns out sad till the end. But it taught me some great things later on.
Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles talks about a girl name Comfort that has to deal death with every day, almost every day. Comfort is 10 years old, and her family’s work is related to arranging funerals. Unfortunately, Comfort lost two of her family members in a year. They are Uncle Edisto, and her great-great Aunt Florentine. They both taught her a lot about life.
Death is a really hard issue to deal with, even for adults. Imagine how life would be like if you lose someone you love when you were so young. Comfort had to learn to deal with this herself. Maybe if her dog, Dismay was with her. Comfort followed the quota that had been in her family for a long time, its saying that if you want to get through your problems/ life, the only solution is living and moving on.
Oh, Comfort also writes short biographies about whoever passed away, telling everyone to join the funeral. But she has a hard time getting it published.
This is a book is like a combination of death, love and a little bit of humor. It will show you how to get through difficult times. This book is perfect for anyone that had lost someone you loved. It would make you appreciate the things you have right now, and be thankful.
This is not the right book if you like exciting, drama-ish happy books. But don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Summary: Comfort Snowberger's family owns a funeral home, so she is used to death. First her Uncle Edisto dies, and then her Aunt Florentine. She dislikes her cousin, Peach, very much, and does not want him near her, ever. Her best friend, Declaration, starts acting really weird and mean and Comfort is very upset. At Aunt Florentine's funeral, Comfort, Peach, Declaration, and Comfort's beloved dog, Dismay, start walking to the cemetery but get caught in a flash flood after Declaration says some awful things to Peach. Comfort must save Peach and accidentally loses Dismay in the process. Though she loves her family, the loss of Dismay at such an unexpected and horrible time really upsets Comfort. At Dismay's funeral, the town shares their good stories about Dismay, the funeral dog, and Declaration finally starts to be nice again. Comfort realizes she does love Peach since she saved him, and they become friends, though Peach still really bugs her. Evaluation: This book was actually really heart-wrenching when Dismay gets lost. I loved how real the feelings were, how Comfort acted exactly like a stubborn little girl that has been betrayed by her best friend. Though it started off slow, I really enjoyed this book. I think it would be a great read-aloud book for younger kids.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I really liked the idea of this book along with its quirky setting and family. However, when I am mindful that this is a book for children it seems a little confusing. The author made a point of using names that were very unique. Because of this, I spent a portion of the beginning of this story just trying to sort out who people were. The story is about a young girl named Comfort Snowberger who is raised in a funeral home. She has had to deal with death for a living and even writes obituary notices for the local paper. Although she has had to deal with death her entire life, things are a bit different when death comes to the Snowberger family. Comfort has to deal with a difficult cousin and a friendship that seems like it is beginning to unravel. Enduring all of this, she finds solace in the companionship of her dog, Dismay. The novel has a turning point that develops when another crisis affects Comfort. It is then that she needs to discover the things that are most important to her. The book was easy to read, but there was a lot of tragedy. I'm not sure which audience would best enjoy this novel.
What’s a good onomatopoeia for blowing your nose? The cover illustration by Marla Frazee is beautiful but I think the original cover that shows Comfort and Dismay in profile rather than straight on might provide a better sense of the mood of the book. Now don’t get me wrong this is an absolutely fabulous bildungsroman (Yes, I love this word.) that deals wonderfully with the monster that is grief. Comfort Snowberger is a ten year old force to be dealt with. She has grown up around death at her family funeral home and she deals with it well even when those close to her great-uncle Edisto die. That is until great-great-aunt Florentine dies and other issues arise such as her terribly annoying cousin Peach and the testing of her friendship with Declaration. I don’t want to give things away but this book gets much heavier and more poignant than you expect when you list the cast of characters from dog Dismay to brother Tidings. I was truly amazed at the power of this book and it was one that I had never even heard of but I will make sure others hear of it.
This was a beautiful, but very very sad story about a family of funeral home folks. The main character, 10 year old Comfort Snowberger aspires to be a journalist and practices by writing "life notices" as opposed to obituaries about folks in her community as they pass away. Her family is incredibly close, and with death all around them they are pretty frank and honest and loving.
Somehow the story manages some humor amidst the sadness (several of the Snowberger family pass away in the story) - its a great read for a tween with a strong constitution. It is beautifully written with characters so real and interesting..wow.
I checked it out only because I heard a girl raving about it with her mother, about how it was the "best book ever!!!" I listened to it- which was lovely. Sweet lilting Southern accents. - Jesse
On page 1, I loved the book. Then, I loved it less with each following page. Conceptually, this is a great book. Unfortunately, I found it contrived. I also felt as though the author could not get the voices right on any of the children. They were all either too old or too young for their chronological ages, and I just don't know children who talk like any of these kids, and I'm around a lot of children. The characters' names were clever, and the jacket art and maps were inspired, but, overall, this book was disappointing to me.
A beautiful kids book exploring the idea of the bittersweetness of life.
Excerpts: Dying is a transition, that’s all, uncle Edisto used to say. Transition to what? What’s next? Who knows? but life‘s not a line, comfort. It’s a circle. Just look around you and you’ll see that.
Mrs. Paul started playing for the beauty of the Earth and people started to spontaneously sing. For the beauty of the Earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies. That’s when my heart swelled up so fast, it closed my throat and I could hardly breathe.
I looked at my 10 pages of remarks. Declaration had said what I wanted to say: Missing people, and dogs, you love is hard. it hurts your heart. That’s what I wanted to say. Everyone else had said every good thing about Dismay. They already knew what a good dog he was. So I put my remarks aside and tried to reach in my hurting heart for something to say….. I said, I miss my dog. my throat swelled until it hurt and tear stung the inside of my nose. I thought of something else, so I said it. I hope he comes home. Amen said peach. … and then a new thought came to me, like a slender stream of hope, filling me with a new understanding. And, I said, hoping they would understand, helping dismay would understand too, I am glad to be alive.
I still wait for him to come home, said peach Me too You never know. You just never ever know what the next good or bad thing will be. That’s for sure. Life just keeps changing all the time, every minute.