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by Trudy Harris & illustrated by Cecilia Rébora

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7613-5231-0
Publisher: Millbrook

Bored with a parrot’s life in a pet store, Spanish-speaking Perico wants a permanent home.

The pet store man assures a female customer that Perico “can say some words.” After the birds’s unsuccessful attempt at “Polly wants a cracker,” though, the woman turns to leave in disgust. Perceptive readers may notice that Perico squawks “Agua!” to call attention to his empty water dish. The pet store man convinces the female customer that Perico is attempting to say the word “opera,” and she buys the bird. Things don’t go well when she takes Perico to the opera that evening, and she returns him. The pet store man tells Perico that he’ll have to learn some phrases if he wants a new home, giving him "I am fine today" as an example. The bird stays up that night practicing the phrase. After two other failed attempts, a little Latino boy and his mother visit the store, and Perico uses all of his new phrases to impress the boy. The boy ignores the bird completely until Perico starts squawking in fluent Spanish. The bilingual boy immediately wants the bird, who speaks Spanish and English just as he does. Rébora’s humorous illustrations and the happy ending help balance the mostly clueless, often rude adults in the book.

A welcome, if a little long, tale of belonging and bilingualism. (Spanish glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)