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The Bluebird and the Sparrow Paperback – Large Print, Apr 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Pub; large type edition edition (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556616139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556616136
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up-A richly detailed inspirational novel from a prolific writer of Christian fiction. Set in the early 1900s on the Canadian prairie, the story centers on Berta, the older, plain, dependable sister of cheerful, beautiful, affectionate Glenna. From childhood on, Berta feels ignored as pretty Glenna receives most of the attention from family, friends, and especially young men. She develops a protective shell so as not to compete with her sister's limelight. Circumstances and the stress of not revealing her true feelings finally cause the young woman to seek the advice of her minister. Both sisters eventually discuss their feelings and Berta discovers her "true self." Oke presents believable characters in a well-paced story full of insight and common sense. It will be especially appealing to any young adult who feels like a "sparrow" in comparison to the "bluebirds." The religious message does not appear until the later half of the book and could be overpowering to some readers, but the universal message of acceptance of self is this book's strong point.
Judy R. Johnston, Auburn High School, WA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Janette Oke pioneered inspirational fiction and is the leading author in the category today. Love Comes Softly, Janette's first novel, has sold over 1 million copies. Janette is now the best selling author of over 40 books, 32 of which have been translated into fourteen languages. Janette receives fan mail from all over the world and answers each letter personally She received the 1992 President's Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, and has been awarded the coveted Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, have four grown children and nine grandchildren and make their home in Canada. size : 5.2 x 8 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER on Dec 12 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful work of Christian literature. The story opens in June of 1894 when 3-year-old Berta becomes an older sister to Glenna. From the start, Berta feels displaced and rebuffs all efforts on the part of her immediate family to draw her in. Glenna, a ray of sunshine with light hair to match is adept at peace making, peace keeping and generally trying to assuage her older sister's resentments.

Poor Berta can never let her grudges go long enough to enjoy life. When Glenna marries and moves to another town, Berta closes herself off from everyone. When their father dies, Berta withers in resentment.

Things change for the better when Glenna returns for a visit with her then 2-year-old son James in tow. The family reconnects, the sisters, mother and their maternal grandmother. Berta Rose (Rosie) was born, some 4 years after James. Unlike Berta, he embraces his new role as a brother and delights in Rosie.

In time, tragedy strikes. James, then 4 falls from a tree and dies from a closed head injury. Glenna's third child, Anna is born shortly thereafter. In time, Glenna and Berta have a heart-to-heart. Glenna says she prays to God daily to help her feel compassion instead of envy; she is not the naturally sunny personality people think she is. Slowly, Berta's emotional armor is chipped away. Once she accepts herself and lets go of her past resentments and allows herself to love Glenna unconditionally, then she is receptive to the love of a persistent suitor.

I think this is a wonderful story about love and redemption and prayer. I like the way God is mentioned throughout the book and the reminders of how important God is to those who believe in and serve Him.
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Format: Paperback
Heroine:  plain/average
Berta Berdette has never been able to get over her resentment of her beautiful younger sister with the "charmed" life and handsome husband. All-or-nothing negative Berta is so angry that she wasn't born beautiful too, that she refuses to even try to be "just pretty", shunning lovely hairstyles and clothing and dressing in the primmest, plainest manner possible.
But God shows Berta that her attempts to spite the people around her hurt no one more than herself, and ultimately helps her to open her heart to love: His, hers, and that of a good man.

What worked for me:
The story starts early in Berta's life, and the deft description of a young child adjusting to a new baby was excellent and right on target.
I always enjoy stories which invoke warm memories of some of my favorite childhood reads like the "Little House" and "Anne of Green Gables" series.
Size-wise there are no descriptions given to Berta or her sister. We only know that one is "plain" and the other is "lovely".
What didn't work for me:
     I understand what the moral of the story is, but it seems like this book just hammered it home a few times too many. Berta's bitterness and self-pity became harder and harder to take as the years rolled by.
Overall:
Fans of Western Historical Christian novels should enjoy this one.
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Format: Paperback
Yes, Berta is bitter and biting at times; but "whiney"? I consider this one of the top three Janette Oke books I've read, and yes, I have read quite a few. Berta's pessimism and resistance against affection certainly do keep the reader from admiring her as a character, but (once she matures into an adult) she doesn't "whine." She has allowed bitterness and a misinterpretation of the past to enslave her, and her story is really a rather tragic one. Yet this less-than-appealing character serves as a very vivid lesson against holding grudges and focus on self; and she does finally see her flaws at the end of the story. This story is also good for struggling sisters (don't let your differences create such a gulf that you can't even have an honest conversation anymore), and even for new moms (try to get behind each child's eyes). All in all, a well-written story that teaches some lessons on how *not* to be but, in traditional Oke fashion, doesn't leave the reader without hope for reconciliation.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book, as I've read all of J. Oke's books, expecting a really good read. The book was written in much the same way all the others are; easy-to-read, "brain candy" with a Christian message. I like to read her books because I don't have to be worried about exposing my mind to questionable (immoral) content. In this regard, she was right on target. However.....
I did NOT like the characters in this particular book. Two sisters are compared throughout the entire book, one very sweet and popular, the other not as pretty, and very bitter about the fact that baby sis gets all the attention. I found myself wanting to slap the whiney sister. No wonder no one wanted to be her beau. I think that it had way more to do with ugliness of personality (whiney, grating, irritating.... I really did NOT like this woman) than of physical appearance. I got really really tired of listening to her little pity parties. (WOW! I sound so harsh!) Finally, too near the end of the book, she finds happiness. By then, I didn't care. I was too sick of her.
Frankly, I could not WAIT to get through this one, and although I will continue to read Oke's other books over and over again, this is one to which I will never again subject myself.
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