In Omid’s debut children’s book, an Iranian girl finds company and healing in her friendship with a fine feathered friend.
Young Maryam is stuck at home while ill. Her cousin, Darius, brings her a bird that she names Mr. Nightingale. The girl and the bird quickly become close, as neither of them is lonely anymore. Maryam eventually returns to school, but when she’s home, she and Mr. Nightingale are inseparable. The bird joins the family at the dining roomtable for lunch and serves as Maryam’s cheerful alarm clock each morning, while Maryam provides Mr. Nightingale with food and fresh water to bathe in. However, when Maryam one day forgets to change his water, the bird doesn’t “seem excited to see her anymore.” Mr. Nightingale stops singing and doesn’t eat the foods that the girl offers him, preferring to eat only rice. He even refuses to bathe in Maryam’s presence and turns his back to her while he’s in his cage. Maryam worries that he might be sick, and the whole family peeks into Maryam’s bedroom door to witness Mr. Nightingale bathing. The moment he realizes they’re looking, he flies out of the bath. Maryam realizes that Mr. Nightingale is angry because she neglected to change his bathwater, and she apologizes. All is forgiven and “the next morning and every morning after,” Mr. Nightingale sings to greet Maryam. Omid’s elegant language makes for a melodious read, perfect for a bedtime story. Munoz’s vibrant illustrations throughout the book provide additional depth to the story and will stir young imaginations.
A heartwarming, inspiring book for adults and children alike.