THE BRAVE LITTLE PARROT
Illustrated by Susan Gaber
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When a raging fire threatens to burn down the forest, all of the animals run away in fear. All except for one brave little parrot,who has an idea. “Help me,” she cries to the elephants, beseeching them to fill their trunks with water to spray on the flames. “Help me!” she begs the cheetahs, even as they urge her to flee and save herself. But the brave little parrot will not be daunted. Can the determination and courage of one small bird be enough to save a forest?
“Susan Gaber’s majestic illustrations and Rafe Martin’s lyrical retelling bring to life an inspiring tale from ancient India that will speak to today’s readers. Today, as rain forests burn, this old tale of doing the one little thing you can takes on special meaning. Perseverance saves the day in this graceful retelling of a traditional jataka tale from India. Martin employs a direct, engaging style to tell the story of a small parrot’s battle against a raging forest fire....An author’s note explains that that jataka tales ...based on the past lives of the Buddha...have been told and retold for 2500 years. This is an elegant continuation of that tradition.”
“In the story of a god disguised as an eagle that descends to earth to aid a small parrot, Martin offers one of the jataka tales from India, which chronicle the past lives of Buddha. When a forest fire erupts, a little parrot tries to convince the animals of the forest to help put out the fire, but she’s told it’s hopeless, and to save herself. Even the great eagle--a god who has watched the other gods and goddesses ridicule the parrot--can’t dissuade the small bird from her noble effort. Those valiant attempts elicit compassionate tears from him: Tears fell from his eyes, fell in torrents, sheet after sheet, like cooling rain, upon the fire,upon the forest, upon the animals, and upon the little parrot. Needless to say, the tears quench the fire, restoring harmony and beauty, and all the colors of the forest, mirrored in the parrot’s new feathers. Readers may recognize aspects of the story from Native American lore, but will be less familiar with the shape-shifting powers of the Buddha. Gaber’s jungle landscapes begin with a peaceable kingdom atmosphere, igniting into smoke-filled, flame-licked pages whose brush strokes highlight all the drama. Close-ups of wildlife bring readers face to face with majestic tigers, eagles, elephants, and the earnest, brave-hearted parrot--she’ll win hearts with her theatrical heroics.” —Kirkus Reviews