Prior to taking his seat in the director’s chair for his very first feature film Yellowbird – Christian De Vita had been a collaborator with Wes Anderson, as an animator and storyboard artist working on the likes of Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Grand Budapest Hotel. That whimsicality and enchantment that defines the latter’s career is something that De Vita has brought with him to his debut endeavour.

Our eponymous protagonist is voiced by Seth Green; abandoned prior to his birth, and eventually found, and then raised, by a ladybug (Yvette Nicole Brown). As the years pass, the harder it becomes for Yellowbird to leave home and find his own way in life, but one fateful day, upon venturing out into the big bad world, he meets Darius (Danny Glover), the head of a flock on the verge of migrating to Africa for the winter months. However following an altercation with stray cats, Darius is severely injured, and moments before passing he confides in Yellowbird the new, less treacherous route for his family to take. The young bird then sees this as the perfect opportunity to prove his worth, taking it upon himself to lead this family, somehow, to another continent.

From the moment Yellowbird begins, it’s drenched, affectionately, in conventionality, with a protagonist that bears all of the archetypes that make for a discernible hero in a children’s animation. Like Wall-E, Dumbo, Bambi or Mowgli – a character left to their own devices, to forge their own way in this world. In some cases orphaned, in others disregarded – but always the underdog; alone and vulnerable. Inevitably an adventure ensues too, and Yellowbird is set up perfectly for an uproarious journey, with a host of characters soaring elegantly through the air, with glorious, vivacious scenery making up much of the background.

Green does justice to the role at hand, with a strong vocal performance – which, to be fair, is the least you’d expect from somebody so experienced in this arena, also lending his voice to the part of Chris Griffin in Family Guy. Dakota Fanning also impresses as the part of Delf, while the likes of Brady Corbet and Richard Kind also bring life to this amiable, aesthetically gratifying piece of cinema.

One of the surprise features that was shown at London Film Festival back in 2012 was Ernest & Celestine, a beautiful animation from France. Its director Benjamin Renner also plays an integral part in the crafting of this little gem too, working as animation designer. While Yellowbird may not have quite the same level of charm as the aforementioned production, it undoubtedly has the heart.