THE TREASURE BIRD by Peni R. Griffin


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Communication--singing and speaking--is important in Oriffin's novels. In Otto From Otherwhere (1990), the unearthly beauty of an extraterrestrial's singing was a central element. Here, in a summer-vacation mystery (again set in San Antonio), the prattling of a parrot provides cryptic clues to he deciphered by young Jessy (who stutters so badly that she communicates largely by gestures and glances), leading to a buried treasure on her stepmother's family farm. With well-drawn characters and a strong sense of place, this short book is unusually rich in subplots and subsidiary themes: the importance of keeping promises; the romance of family history; development encroaching on a rural homestead; Jessy's grief at her neglect by a long-absent mother who drifts from one commune to another; the dynamics of a ""blended"" family and their economic woes. Griffin plays fair with her readers--all the clues needed to solve the mystery are right there in the story--but the solution is a surprise nevertheless.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1992
Page count: 136pp
Publisher: McElderry