The Emperor's Regret
by Barbara A. Pierce

"In a loud outburst he says, “What good is having power when it becomes a burden!”"

Paheni, a young emperor in a far-off land, is growing weary with his lot in life. Though he lives a life of pampered luxury, he has never had the opportunity to pursue his own interests or seek adventure or fun. Growing more stir crazy by the minute, Paheni summons Haknobee, the wise and old magician, to come up with a solution that will allow the emperor to escape the responsibilities thrust upon him. Haknobee mentions a parrot deep in the rainforest who shares Paheni’s discontent, longing to be something other than what he is. Paheni tries to be coy about the proposition and delay his decision but can wait no longer, and the two men travel into the rainforest, with an entourage of guards, to find the parrot, so Paheni can switch places with him.

With giant, vibrant illustrations, this fable of learning not to run from one’s problems comes to life easily and contains some surprises. Older readers may think they can spot the trap that Paheni is happily walking into but may be shocked by the book’s conclusion. For a read-along book, this story is longer than average, so sharing with children at home or in the classroom will be more of an experience than a short break. Though the moral may seem like one already covered in other stories, the approach is unique in this book and provides a fresh look that will capture readers in ways that tried-and-true tales may not. Anyone who needs something new and adventurous to add to his or her storytelling repertoire will love sharing this fable with others.

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