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The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This story about a trickster who is out-tricked is a good choice for reading aloud...The humor and action in the bright illustrations will appeal to young children, as will the triumph of kindness over cheating." --Booklist Online

"This classic Armenian fable (Crime never pays! is the lesson at the end) is retold to the accompaniment of richly chromatic, folkloric scenes by a Moscow native that bring to mind Ukrainian Easter eggs." --ForeWord Reviews

"Armenian folk attire and references to places in Armenia authenticate the tale. It's a rhythmic read-aloud beginning readers can share." --Kirkus Reviews

"This story about a trickster who is out-tricked is a good choice for reading aloud...The humor and action in the bright illustrations will appeal to young children, as will the triumph of kindness over cheating." --Booklist Online

"This classic Armenian fable (Crime never pays! is the lesson at the end) is retold to the accompaniment of richly chromatic, folkloric scenes by a Moscow native that bring to mind Ukrainian Easter eggs." --ForeWord Reviews

"Armenian folk attire and references to places in Armenia authenticate the tale. It's a rhythmic read-aloud beginning readers can share." --Kirkus Reviews

Gr K-3 A homely sparrow turns a thorn in his foot to fine advantage in this simple spin on the familiar folktale of the rising fortunes and eventual downfall of one who overreaches. Revisiting the obliging baker who removed the thorn, sparrow asks for its return. Alas...she has thrown it in the oven. The tale moves forward in alternate bits of narrative atop or below each full-page scene and dialogue set in speech balloons. Either give me my thorn or give me some bread. The sparrow journeys far, conning the folks he encounters and parlaying the loaf of bread into a sheep, which in turn yields a bride from a countryside wedding. The sparrow s trade-ups involve leaving each of his gains for safekeeping with someone along the way who then ends up having to pay a forfeit. Either you give me the bride or give me the lute. Zaikina s expressive portrayals of both animal and human characters, rendered in bold outline and rich color, beautifully convey the tale s goofy fun. Her use of wax and oil paint in a kind of scratchboard technique smartly blends folk and cartoon styles. Though some may find the cartoon arrangement of conversation intrusive for reading aloud, others will find that it moves smoothly, adding nicely to the character portrayals. In the end, of course, sparrow s cockiness results in a fall (literally) from glory with nothing but a thorn in his foot. --School Library Journal March 2011

About the Author

Author Lucine Kasbarian lives in Massachusetts and New Jersey. She is also the author of Armenia: A Rugged Land, an Enduring People (Dillon Press/Simon & Schuster).

Illustrator Maria Zaikina lives in Moscow, Russia.

Product Details

  • File Size: 13184 KB
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions (May 14, 2012)
  • Publication Date: May 14, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083DJUE8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,966 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Janette Fuller on April 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale", written by Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Maria Zaikina, is an Armenian fable. A fable is a story that teaches a lesson about life.

The sparrow in this story has a thorn in his foot. He takes advantage of a woman baking a loaf of bread and tricks her into giving him the bread. The trickster repeats this behavior over and over again, never satisfied with what he has. He finally ends up losing everything and finds himself with another thorn stuck in his foot. The author states, "we learn that people who engage in dishonest or selfish behavior may end up losing whatever they gained because of that behavior."

The book illustrations were rendered with layers of wax and oil paint, and then the layers were cut away to reveal the colors underneath. The illustrations do an excellent job portraying the Armenian culture and landscape. The pictures are colorful and cheerful. The animal's expressions are delightful and humorous.

I think children today need to understand that crime doesn't pay. There will always be consequences for bad behavior. I also like the way the story and the illustrations teach about a far-away place with a strange sounding name. Most American children are probably not familiar with the Republic of Armenia. This would be a wonderful opportunity to get out the globe and talk about people who live on the other side of the world.

The author provides an excellent study guide and activities on her web site. There are so many lessons that can be taught from this book. Great for children of all ages!

I want to thank Ms. Kasbarian for sending me a digital copy of this book to read and review. It was a real pleasure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ella on April 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rarely does a children's book arrive that meets all the requirements for excellence in this essential genre. What a delight to find that The Greedy Sparrow can securely rest next to the universal tales of the Grimm Brothers. All of us have wondered at the pluckiness and survival skills of the cute sparrow - and so we can understand what makes the tale's sparrow a perfect bearer of the lesson of this sobering wisdom tale for children.

The wholesome and lovable illustrations lighten our disappointment at the story itself of the brazen opportunism of the lazy sparrow. The story chides - and yet the illustrations console us. Further, we can learn to appreciate the grave wisdom of the old and dignified Armenian culture. As ever, today we need reminding in this fresh contemporary rendition of an ancient lesson: A society thrives only if every member of it contributes - and honors its treasures.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a children's librarian in New York City I am expected to have a full knowledge of existing children's literature as it pertains, not just to the American publishing industry, but to the world at large. If a group of unusually tall Norwegian women come in asking for children's books by their countrymen, I am supposed to know how to locate the nearest Jo Nesbo/P.C. Abjorsen title. I have gaps, though. Whole swaths of continents where my knowledge is lacking or useless. For example, let's say you walked up to my desk and asked me to produce as many Armenian children's folktales as possible. I could do it, I suppose, if I did a catalog search. We might have some. But I wouldn't be able to name them off the top of my head. "The Greedy Sparrow" fills in that gap nicely. An original composition based on a classic Armenian oral tale, author Lucine Kasbarian and Russian illustrator Maria Zaikina bring to life a story unfamiliar but to a few Americans. Want to bulk up your Armenian folklore for a spell? Seek ye no further than this.

A little Author's Note appears on the publication page of this book, which I appreciated. It states right from the start, "Armenian fables begin with `Once there was and was not'." After we read these words we begin our tale. A sparrow with a thorn in its foot asks a baker to remove it. The woman does so gladly, burning it up afterwards, but when the sparrow returns and asks for his thorn back she has nothing to give him. Pleased, he takes some bread instead. Next, he visits a shepherd with a flock and asks the man to look after his bread. The fellow does for a time, but eats the bread when hunger overtakes him. As payment, the sparrow takes a sheep.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lori Calabrese "Children's Books Examiner" VINE VOICE on May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Fables and fairy tales never grow old when it comes to children's literature, which is why The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale by Lucine Kasbarian is a wonderful addition to any young reader's library.

Once there was and was not a sparrow who caught a thorn in his foot. He flies until he spots a woman baking bread and asks if the baker will pull the thorn from his foot. The baker obliges, but soon the sparrow returns asking for the thorn back. The baker has thrown it in the oven, so the sparrow threatens the baker to either return the thorn or give the sparrow some bread. The baker sees no sense in arguing and gives the sparrow some bread. From there, the sparrow swindles a shepherd tending his sheep, a bride and groom, and a minstrel, but in the end, all the sparrow ends up with is a thorn in his foot, where he had began.

This is a fascinating tale, sure to have you turning page after page to see what kind of trouble the sparrow is going to get into next and the colorful illustrations add to the tale, making you feel as though you're right in Armenia. Greed can get the better of anyone, which is why the message that a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions is a great reminder.
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