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Sparrow Girl Hardcover – February 17, 2009
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From School Library Journal
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The next morning the whole village seemed to explode with noise. Everyone was trying to drive away the sparrows. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Birds began to fall from the sky. They were literally dying from fright. Ming-li ran home to check on her own pigeon. Older Brother must have let her out, but when she went up to the roof her pet flew to her. She died in her arms and "tears filled Ming'Li's eyes." Later, whenever she saw a bird fall to the ground, she rushed to pick it up. Perhaps she could save just one. The birds were coming down in torrents. Would there be any birds left in China?
This story is based on the true story of Chairman Mao's Great Sparrow War in 1958. This program proved ecologically unsound because without the sparrows, the locust population grew and contributed to "a famine that killed between thirty and forty million Chinese" people. The story is very touching and heartbreaking. The art work superbly captures the mood of the story. This is a serious tale and would be an excellent choice for a historical or ecological class study.
The decision saddened and frightened Ming-Li, a young girl living in the country-side, who liked sparrows and wondered about the consequences of the decision and if there was another way to save the crops. Her fears proved fully grounded. Sparrows not only ate grain, they also ate locusts and worms, and the decimation of the sparrow population contributed to an enormous growth of locusts and the start of China's terrible famine. Ming-Li was too young and small to stop these major events, but her love of sparrows did lead to a powerful action that would bring hope to her village and new-found respect from her father.
Readers of all ages will appreciate Sparrow Girl for its informative account of an important event in China's Great Leap Forward and its lesson about the dangers of upsetting the environment's ecological balance. The rich illustrations make this work of historical fiction all the more memorable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was set in the historical period of "eliminating the four pests" in China, which hasn't been widely written. Read morePublished 2 months ago by HappyBunny
Beautiful story kind of sad but a good lesson. Very fast shippingPublished 7 months ago by sun4ever
My grand daughter loved the book. Her third grade teacher read part of it in class, a lesson for us all.Published on September 15, 2013 by Marie Houck
I shared this story with my second graders, and they were able to get so much out of it! I love the beautiful illustrations and the rich language that it is written in!Published on March 22, 2013 by MG
Thought it was for kids, and yes, it's intended to be so. But, the story is deep. I have shown the book to my friends and co-workers who are adults, and they liked so much that... Read morePublished on April 19, 2011 by dog lover
This is my newest favorite read aloud book! The illustrations are full page, unusual, and beautiful. Read morePublished on December 7, 2009 by zenstella