THE RICH MAN AND THE PARROT

The Indian parrot that finds a way to escape from his comfortable, yet confining cage in a rich Persian merchant’s garden, exemplifies the desire for liberty. This 13th-century tale, retold from the Masnavi, a collection by the Persian poet Rumi, is set in a later period, denoted by the merchant’s touring car and turn-of-the-20th-century furnishings, but it remains timeless. When the merchant takes a buying trip to India, the bird asks him to visit his brother parrots. The man obeys and witnesses a strange turn of events. At the merchant’s greeting, the colorful birds all fall down, seemingly dead. When the merchant tells his beloved pet this story, the parrot imitates his brothers and the merchant is horrified. Only then does the man open the cage and the wily bird escapes, telling the man how his fellow parrots gave him insight into how to win his freedom. An easy-to-understand allegory with colorful paintings of both the beautiful yet domesticated Persian garden and the wilder Indian jungle. (biographical note about Rumi) (Picture book/folktale. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8075-5059-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2007

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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