THE CAGED BIRDS OF PHNOM PENH by Frederick Lipp

THE CAGED BIRDS OF PHNOM PENH

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Soft watercolor-and-pencil illustrations complement and extend the evocative language of this touching story, rich in archetypes and metaphors, yet simple enough to be enjoyed by young children. Lipp sets up the central tension from the outset by beginning in the lush rice fields of the Cambodian countryside, where the yellow winds blow and the sky is filled with birds. He then moves to Ary, a little girl who has lived all of her eight years in the crowded, smoky city. There the only birds are found in cages in the marketplace. Ary, hoping that her wishes for her family will come true, purchases the freedom of one of the birds with the riels she has earned by selling flowers to tourists. Her moment of happiness upon the release of the bird is short-lived, however, as, accustomed to its prison and dependent on it for food and water, it quickly flies back to its cage. Unwilling to accept defeat, Ary watches the caged birds over many days and comes to know them well. When she has saved enough money to buy another bird's freedom, she wisely picks a bird new to the cage, despite the attempts of the bird lady to discourage her. This time the reader is encouraged to be optimistic that Ary's wishes for her family will come true, and there is hope that her own wish for more knowledge will someday bring her freedom, as well. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1534-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001




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