From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3AA retelling of a traditional Jataka tale from India. A gray parrot witnesses the start of a forest fire. She knows she can fly away to safety, but when she sees the devastation and other forest dwellers trapped by the fire, she tries to save them. She calls on the other animals to help, but they tell her it is hopeless. Bravely, she does what she can, carrying small drops of water on a leaf to pour on the enormous fire. In the heavens, some gods look down on the scene, laughing at the ridiculous situation. When one god takes the shape of an eagle and advises the small bird to stop and save herself, the parrot retorts, "I don't need advice. I just need help!" Touched by her courage and ashamed of his useless and selfish life, the eagle starts to weep. His tears quench the flames and bring new life. The little parrot is rewarded with colorful feathers where hers have been singed. Gaber's paintings are rich with lush greens and flaming oranges. The use of small paintings boxed within a larger boxed background results in an effective design element. This technique focuses viewers' awareness of how the small actions of one creature, though insignificant in the larger world, can contribute to that world's salvation. One such picture, a small drop of water framed above a roaring fire, is touching in its simplicity and power. The artwork strongly reinforces the message of this lovely story.AJudith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5^-8. In Martin's retelling of a traditional Indian jataka
tale, a brave little gray parrot's labors against a forest fire come to the attention of the gods, one of whom sheds tears that save the forest and the animals and change the feathers of the parrot into flaming colors as a lasting remembrance. Gaber's moving, full-page, color illustrations increase the drama of the fire, showing the seeming impotence of even the most powerful forest creatures and emphasizing the precious beauty of water and its relationship to continued life. Children will celebrate the brave parrot's victory and ask for this story again and again. It's a wonderful choice for reading aloud. Karen Morgan