From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—This simple adaptation of an ancient Middle Eastern parable reads easily and sends a salient message. Unfortunately the stark, unappealing artwork detracts from the book. In the tale, a wealthy Persian merchant prizes a talking parrot over all of his other possessions. The bird longs for freedom, but the merchant politely refuses. When the man sets out on a trip to India, he agrees to deliver a message to the parrot's brothers. He completes his business and visits the jungle, where—after conveying the message—the parrot's brothers fall instantly from the trees as though dead. The merchant tells his prisoner the sad news as soon as he gets home—whereupon the caged parrot falls down, too. However, the moment the man opens the door to remove the "dead" bird, he flutters to life and makes his escape, grateful to his brothers for the getaway plan they sent via his captor. Despite the bright colors, the illustrations are strangely bland. The shades of green, purple, blue, and yellow that predominate have the same flat, uniform density and appearance of a child's marker set. Consider this a sound purchase for the value of the relatively obscure (and culturally rich) story it tells.—Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
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A timeless Persian folktale once told by the famous thirteenth-century poet Rumi is retold again in this attractive picture book. A rich, powerful merchant loves his parrot, which came from India. The bird tells him old legends and tall tales, and the merchant indulges the parrot's every wish--except for its dearest one: that it be freed from its cage. When the merchant travels to India, the parrot asks its master to convey greetings to its brothers in the jungle and bring back their reply. The trick they play on the merchant shows their^B sibling the way to freedom. The language is simple ("How was your trip?" the parrot asks), and the clear double-page spreads in brilliant colors are equally effective in depicting both the gorgeous bird locked up in lavish splendor and the jungle setting. The triumph of the small trickster that outwits the powerful authority will have strong appeal for children. Hazel Rochman
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