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A Sky Full of Kindness

Lovely paper cutouts and a bird's-eye view on life from Rob Ryan

by James Thorne in Culture on 13 March 2013

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For his second book, "A Sky Full of Kindness," artist Rob Ryan has put his paper-cutting skills to use in a story about a pair of songbirds eagerly awaiting the hatching of their first chick. The intricate illustrations marry words with images to create a seamless tale about family, love and adventure.

As the story goes, a soon-to-be mother and father anticipate their first child in a bell tower nest. The mother, frightened by warnings from other birds, begins to worry about the world that awaits her child. She flies in search of answers, aided along the way by a pelican, a Rüppell's Griffon and a flock of tiny birds. Grateful at the help she has received, the mother bird decides to repay the kindness by freeing an aviary full of her winged companions before returning home to her family.

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A clever story with lessons for children throughout, the book has also been fantastically assembled by Ryan and Chronicle Books. Everything from the paper feel to the soft color palate make the book a treat to hold and read. What's more, Helena Bonham Carter provides a ringing endorsement on the back flap, calling it, "A book of cut-outs, cut out for anyone who is human."

"A Sky Full of Kindness" is available through Chronicle Books and Amazon. Other work by Ryan—including screenprints and cutouts—can be found at his shop, Ryantown. See more images of the book in our slideshow.

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