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The Widow and the Parrot Hardcover – April, 1988

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Hardcover, April, 1988
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mrs. Gage hears of her brother's death and journeys to collect her inheritance, a house and some 3000 sterling. Her dog was left behind; she is devoted to him and the other animals, despite her poverty. Her brother, on the other hand, was not only miserly but cruel to animalsshe had seen him with her own eyes, as children, "trim a hairy caterpillar with a pair of scissors." The widow arrives to find a small shack with all but worthless contents, and a gray parrot called James that shrieks "Not at home!" The money is nowhere to be found. Mrs. Gage feeds James some sugar and talks to him, as her brother used to, "as if he were a rational being." As she returns home from the solicitors she loses her way in the dark and is saved by the light of a huge fireher brother's house. She worries about the bird and tries to save him. Instead, he saves herhe had ignited the fire and now leads her to her brother's hidden money. The story behind this lighthearted tale of heroism, mystery and kindness to animals is that Woolf had contributed this piece to her nephews' family newspaper. Bell, her grand-nephew, has illustrated the story with watercolors that are, in most scenes, dusky with twilight. All ages.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2 Up Woolf wrote this tongue-in-cheek Victorian story of kindness rewarded in response to her young nephews' requests for an article for their family newspaper. Poor old Mrs. Gage inherits a house and 3000 from her miserly brother, but when she arrives at the village to claim it, she finds a dilapidated house and a rude parrot. Since the lawyers don't know where the money is, the penniless woman begins her long trek home. Her way is lit by a house burningher inheritanceand, stunned, she returns, concerned about the well being of the parrot. Later that night, the bird leads her to the buried treasure. Woolf's story sounds as if an older aunt were sitting by the fire spinning the story out towards its moral of the rewards of kindness to animals. The watercolor illustrations by her grandnephew provide glimpses of the blues and greens of the Yorkshire countryside where Woolf lived. While this short story is a good choice for reading aloud to older children, it may be of more interest to adult scholars of Woolf's work for a view of the author at play. Susan Hepler, Windsor Public Library, Conn.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Childrens Books (J); 1st edition (April 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152967834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152967833
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,732,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Well, she wrote at least this one. It's a brief, gentle fairy tale about, you guessed it, an old woman and a parrot. It's a quiet story with a happy ending - she dies, but dies happy - and morals about trust and kindness.

This little-known work by a well-known author was actually done as a commission. Her nephews Quentin and Julian Bell, small boys at the time, had a family newsletter. They figured they could do worse than ask auntie, the writer, for a contribution. Frankly, they were a bit disappointed, but too gracious to say so at the time. Years later, as near as I can tell, it resurfaced among adult Quentin's family papers, and he recognized it for the gem it in fact is. Then, to keep it a family matter, it was illustrated by a next-generation Bell also named Juian.

It's an interesting literary oddity as well as a charming story.

//wiredweird
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By brridgett on September 11, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Honestly I thought this story was pretty good and I usually never say that. I guess the only reason I really liked it was because there is some mystery in it (How did the parrot know where the money was at? How did the house even catch on fire?) and also because it’s a quick short story and in all that it was interesting. Mrs.Gagg is an old widow and her brother passes away and leaves her his house and 15,000 dollars. She never thought the house would be falling apart but it was and then she was looking for the money but the bank told her there was no money. The only thing Joseph left behind was a parrot and then the house catches on fire and apparently the parrot survived and found Mrs. Gagg and led her to the money. All I have to say about The Widow and the Parrot it is totally worth buying.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I collect children's books written by famous authors or celebraties. This was wonderful and a nice lesson fro children. Buy it
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Virginia Woolf draws you in to this wonderful story from the first page.
A tale of compassion and kindness rewarded.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. Original story. My eight year old loved it.
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