From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3–Javaherbin retells a story taken from an ancient Persian poem, “Parrot and the Merchant,” by Jalaledin Rumi. It is the tale of a wealthy merchant who keeps a parrot in his shop whose colorful feathers, singing, and talking attract many customers. When the merchant travels to India on a shopping trip, he promises to bring something home for each family member, including the parrot, whose unusual request leads to his own freedom. Colorful cartoon-style acrylic artwork shows people in traditional dress and brightly colored birds and reinforces the capably written storytelling. Whatley includes touches of humor in several of the illustrations. While this is not an essential purchase, it offers an interesting twist that could lead to a discussion of the meaning of freedom.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This handsome picture book’s intriguing title will grab children, and they won’t be disappointed with the twists in both story and message. A Persian merchant keeps a talking parrot that attracts crowds to his market store, and vibrant, uncluttered acrylic paintings show the large bird locked behind bars in a golden cage. When the merchant prepares for a buying trip to India, he kindly asks his pet what gift he might like from the place that had once been the parrot’s home. What the bird wants most is just to let his family and friends know that he misses them and remembers their life together. When the merchant talks with the wild Indian parrots and tells them about his pet, which now lives in a “beautiful” cage, the birds play a trick that eventually sets the merchant's parrot free. Both the richly detailed scenes and story reversals will draw a young audience. In an author’s note, Iranian-born Javaherbin discusses her story’s roots in Rumi’s poem “The Parrot and the Merchant.” Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman