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by Rafe Martin & illustrated by Susan Gaber

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-399-22825-X
Publisher: Putnam

 In the story of a god disguised as an eagle that descends to earth to aid a small parrot, Martin (The Eagle's Gift, p. 1225, etc.) offers one of the jataka tales from India, which chronicle the past lives of Buddha. When a forest fire erupts, a little parrot tries to convince the animals of the forest to help put out the fire, but she's told it's hopeless, and to save herself. Even the great eagle--a god who has watched the other gods and goddesses ridicule the parrot--can't dissuade the small bird from her noble effort. Those valiant attempts elicit compassionate tears from him: ``Tears fell from his eyes, fell in torrents, sheet after sheet, like cooling rain, upon the fire, upon the forest, upon the animals, and upon the little parrot.'' Needless to say, the tears quench the fire, restoring harmony and beauty, and all the colors of the forest, mirrored in the parrot's new feathers. Readers may recognize aspects of the story from Native American lore, but will be less familiar with the shape-shifting powers of the Buddha. Gaber's jungle landscapes begin with a peaceable kingdom atmosphere, igniting into smoke-filled, flame-licked pages whose brush strokes highlight all the drama. Close-ups of wildlife bring readers face to face with majestic tigers, eagles, elephants, and the earnest, brave-hearted parrot--she'll win hearts with her theatrical heroics. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)