It has been 10 years since Pablo landed on the shores of the diverse community of Isla, with his lavender parrot, Birdy, in tow, to be adopted by Cuban-American Emmanuel.
Pablo, no longer satisfied with the origin stories the adults tell him, wants the truth: who put him in the water, and why? And after 10 years, flightless Birdy is now attempting to fly. Isla, famed for its birds, is also famous for the legend of the Seafaring Parrot, a mystical bird said to be able to reproduce any sound in the world. Winds of change, meaning “fortune lost or fortune gained,” are coming to Isla. Rumors of Seafarer sightings attract tourists and newscasters to the island in search of the legendary bird. Pablo wonders if Birdy is the Seafarer of legend. McGhee deftly weaves the narrative of Pablo and Birdy with chapters from the point of view of a little, hungry dog who steals baked goods. Further adding to the quirkiness of the tale is the Committee of island birds, all of whom display boatloads of personality despite being limited to parroted speech. Readers will not be surprised at the true nature of Birdy’s identity, and they will cheer to see how the community comes together to protect it from outside forces. Birdy and Pablo’s relationship, the strongest aspect of the story, has a bittersweet but satisfying ending.
A quiet, memorable, fantastical tale beautifully complemented by Juan’s illustrations. (Fabulism. 8-12)