This original and creative work is compelling from the opening drawing right to the end of the book.

School Library Journal (US)


One day Warren sees something strange lying under a bush. His wife Tina wants to keep it and raise it as her own child. But it has wings…Eep!  A children’s chapter book for ages 7-11

  • Description

    Eep! is the story of a mysterious bird-girl who, on her quest for freedom, teaches four strangers the true meaning of family.

    One day Warren sees something strange lying under a bush. He doesn’t know whether it is a bird in the form of a girl, or a girl in the form of a bird.

    He takes the creature home. His wife Tina wants to keep it and raise it as her own child. But it has wings…


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin The Netherlands
    Reader Age 8-12 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Iris on Books (US), June 2012

      It is certainly a story of adaptation, friendship, love, and letting go, but it can also be read as a charming fantasy tale, or as a story that questions the rigid categories we often impose on the world. … Joke van Leeuwen’s style is quirky and funny, and she constantly challenges the borders between the real world and the imagination. … As much as this is the story of suspension of belief, imagination, love and friendship, it also deals with the darker and more liminal themes in life. And that is exactly why I loved this book. Children can discover funny images and stories inside Eep!`s cover that will make them laugh, but at the same time it covers deeper themes that enable reflection at an older age.

    2. Kirkus Reviews, February 2012

      Van Leeuwen’s quiet prose beautifully describes characters’ sentiments as each also finds wonder along the way. Her line drawings, quirky by American standards, add a playful nuance to the already layered story. Adults will better understand Beedy’s need for freedom and a parent’s difficulty in letting go. Willing readers of all ages will delight in the story’s unusual surprises.

    3. School Library Journal (US), March 2012

      This original and creative work is compelling from the opening drawing right to the end of the book. Anyone looking for a fun read will enjoy the story, but it may be particularly poignant for children dealing with issues surrounding closure.

    4. ForeWord US, March 2012

      A magical story about a missing girl with wings who can fly–and the disparate collection of earth-bound people who come to love her. Featuring extraordinary line drawings and original, direct, writing: ‘The city didn’t really know where it was supposed to end. It had a very frayed edge.’ The lessons in this book are countless, beginning with the notion that children are as complex and as richly endowed with eccentricities as adults. A beautiful, humorously rendered story about family.

    5. Booklist (US), March 2012

      A gentle message about caring and letting go informs the book, but the portrayal has such a light, pleasurable touch that the message isn’t preachy or didactic in the least…A splendid parable to recommend to readers of any age who long for something larger and sweeter in tone than mere plot-driven fare.

    6. Reading Time, November 2010

      A thoughtful yet funny and enjoyable read with totally brilliant illustrations.

    7. ‘Books for Christmas Giving 2010’, Storylines, November 2010

      Warren and Tina are a childless older couple, Warren spends his days birdwatching, with his book of birds and binoculars. One day he comes across something strange – but. is it a girl-in-the-form-of-a-bird or a bird-in-the-form-of-a-girl? He takes her home and they call her Beedy, but Beedy has wings and needs to fly. This is a quirky and heart-warming story that appeals to the child in everyone.
      Accompanying the story are delightful illustrations by van Leeuwen.

    8. Canvas, NZ Herald, October 2010

      An unusual tale about a mysterious bird-girl found by a childless couple. Difficult to summarise without giving too much away, Beedy (the bird-girl) flies off to the sunny south. In their desperate search for her, the couple meet a handful of strange characters, all with problems.

    9. Magpies magazine,, August 2010

      Eep! is an amazing and intriguing and moving mixture of narrative and illustration.

      … Beedy’s influence on the people she meets (and her parents’ encounters) provide unexpected insights into human relationships and the nature of happiness and imagination … In its endearing mix of words and pictures, Eep! is an unexpected insight into the nature of freedom and unconditional love.

    10. Your Weekend, Dominion Post, August 2010

      Eep! is a poetic novel about a small bird-girl and the human lives she changes, while blithely unaware of doing so. The book’s characters are archetypal – the kindly childless couple, the ‘rescuer’, and the lonely girl with a too-busy father. All are portrayed with originality and whimsy. There is no overt villainy in Eep!, although I wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a slightly sinister hotel appearing towards the story’s end. The author sees her characters as essentially good, and narrative tension springs from their determined attempts to fulfil their own poignant wants and needs. Eep!’s illustrations complement its text, always adding new information or emotional content, often humorously. A marvellous read-aloud, Eep! will work for many age groups.

    11., August 2010

      This is simply children’s book perfection, by the sublime Dutch author and illustrator Joke van Leeuwen. Warren and Tina – desperate for a child – come across a strange little creature, very like a child, but with wings. They adopt it, but are shocked when ‘Eep’ disappears to fly to warmer climes. As they set off in search of their ‘offspring’, a chance series of encounters with a variety of different parents begins to teach them how all children are different – and how everyone needs a bit of space now and then to be themselves.

    12. Northern News, June 2010

      the story of Beedy, a mysterious bird-girl who, in her quest for freedom, teaches strangers the true meaning of family.The 152-page book, for children aged eight to 12, has won multiple awards for its poignant but humorous study of love and separation.

    13. Wilma van den Bosch

      My 8 year old son, who doesn’t like reading,
      loved Eep!… He loved the pictures, he laughed
      a lot. He was engaged in the story – about
      what could happen or why something happened’

    14., July 2010

      Eep! is a most enigmatic tale. It is the story of child who is not quite a girl and not quite a bird. She is both and yet she is even more than that. Warren is out doing his usual bird-watching when he finds her lying underneath a bush. He takes her home and his wife is just as mesmerised by her as he is. So they keep her and raise her as their own.

      Eep! is a really difficult book for me to summarise without giving away its special secrets. But I will say this: if you had wings, wouldn’t flight be built into your very nature? If you could soar, wouldn’t you leap into the sky and let your wings unfurl?

      Beyond a summary, I think this is the type of book that you read and take from it whatever you bring. Does that make sense? It taps into your own interpretation of family, of love and of freedom. For me it had many hidden layers. I have to say I’m not sure if they were just my self-imposed interpretation rather than the heart of the story. For example, at the beginning of the story I felt the bird-girl’s wings were a metaphor for disability. The parents hide them instead of embracing that which makes the bird-girl unique and special. I have no idea if that is what the author intended, but it is what I found through my reading. I think everyone’s interpretation of the bird-girl’s story will be thoroughly individual.

      The illustrations in this story are quirky and endearing. They really convey the different emotions of the characters and the bizarre nature of our fears and our day dreams.

      Eep! is a really short read at just 151 pages. It is sweet, funny and enlightening. The layers that I found when reading this book were subtle and poignant. I hope other people will read it and find there own journey just like the bird-girl. An enchanting and charismatic tale.

    15. Life, The Dominion Post, July 2010

      … a whimsical yet philosophical story of a mysterious bird-girl raised by a childless couple.

    16. Taranaki Daily News, June 2010

      Beedy is a cross between a bird and a girl – in fact, more bird than girl, as it turns out in this charming tale about two country folk who attempt to foster her and raise her as a child.

      This is a gem of a book working at many levels. It is unmistakeably Northern European in context and culture and at its simplest level, it is a funny tale about the free-spirited Beedy gently resisting attempts to make her human. But there are so many more poignant and witty layers that make this a rare book suited to the widest range of reading levels and comprehension, from child to adult. The line drawings are incorporated into the story and are not merely illustrations. Competent readers from seven upwards will cope with the text – its recommended readership is middle childhood from 8 to 12. But I think it transcends age barriers and it probably deserves the accolade of masterpiece.

    17. Tomorrow’s Schools Today, June 2010

      A poignant and humorous story about the important things in life. It will also have children eight and over thinking about what really makes a family.

    18. Story Time Books for Kids, May 2010

      This is another wonderful book from Gecko Press, and their ‘curiously good books’ phrase is particularly apt in this case. De Morgen, a Flemish newspaper, called it ‘an absolute masterpiece of children’s literature,’ and it’s difficult to disagree with that assessment. Written and illustrated by Joke van Leeuwen, translated by Bill Nagelkerke, it’s a novel of around 150 pages which was published in The Netherlands in 1996 and has won several awards in Europe. It’s full of wit, whimsy and wisdom and often challenges the reader’s preconceptions about all sorts of concepts, from story, to family, to birdness. It has another stunningly memorable first page. ‘Take three lines. (3 lines are drawn.).. Curve them a little. (The lines are curved a little.).. Join them together.(They are joined) And here is the landscape in which this story begins.’ Wow!!! Warren is out birdwatching one day when he looks under a bush (not something he usually does) and finds something which seems to be part human girl and part bird. He and his wife Tina feed Birdy, (later Beedy) as they call her, and soon she’s flying around the house. And just when Warren and Tina have become really attached to her, out the window. Tina realises that she must be free, but is really sad not to have said goodbye, and the rest of the story is their quest to find her again. Terrific storytelling, very different, but very good. Suitable for ages nine to ninety.

    19. Around the Bookshops, May 2010

      Warren and his wife Tina have longed for a baby of their own and one day, while out bird watching, Warren finds one, but it is a baby with wings. A completely satisfying story to read aloud and one which, for all its fun and humorous drawings, touches on some very basic human needs like love, freedom and the ability to let go. Recommended.

    20. De Volkskrant

      A moving story about the important things in life.

    21. Horn Book (US), May/ June 2012

      Insightful, affectionate humor and whimsy suffuse this fantasy, which is illustrated throughout with van Leeuwen’s clever, comic drawings. Somehow, van Leeuwen manages to be both comforting and absurd, ironic and tender. Refreshingly respectful of its audience – and characters – in both ideas and prose style.

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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