Moving, insightful, lyrical and also at times very funny, this novel is a supple, disarmingly frank exploration of parenthood. Liam and Iris have one son: Billy, a bright toddler puddling about (...) leaving surrealist art installations all over the house: a tiny cow in a teapot in a hat on the doorstep, of course! A stuffed crocodile in a silk camisole perched beside a woollen chick in a beanie on the bread-bin, why not!' Just as they are despairing about being able to conceive another child, Jason comes into their family. He arrives under fraught circumstances, but might just make a perfect sibling for Billy. Jason is a lovely, poor, sad, unfortunate, ordinary, annoying, delightful nuisance of a ratbag of a hoot of a kid ' and the boys grow close over the ensuing years. But after a terrible accident, Billy turns into a bird. He utterly believes it: and as his behaviour becomes increasingly worrying, Liam and Iris must find a way to stop their family flying apart. When extracts of Billy Bird won the NZSA/Philip and Dianne Beatson Fellowship, the judges said the project was inventive, joyful and beautifully written'. Ripe with playfulness, yet also unforgettably poignant, this novel will unstitch : and then mend : your heart several times over.