The Little Parrot and the Angel's Tears
by M. Anu Narasimhan
Mascot Books

"A parrot once lived far, far away,
Where he and his friends everyday did play.
So much fun was he that none cared
That he was so small, though he often despaired..."

Colorful and heartwarming, this is sure to delight young readers with its lyrical rhymes and compelling narrative. The titular little parrot must come to terms with his small stature and brave a harsh forest fire to save his larger, albeit ground-bound, friends from the ravages of the flames. Although the little parrot can easily fly away, he is driven to make the ultimate sacrifice and rediscover his own inner power. He persists and perseveres, despite the laughter of the devtas, the divine spirits who watch the parrot struggle below—until one among them is ultimately moved to tears. Like many childhood fables, this story teaches a powerful lesson about the grace given to those who do what is morally right despite the mocking inner voices that try to discourage them.

The illustrations in this children's book are bright and playful. The stylistic images of the animals in their natural habitat are impressionistic, which contrasts nicely with their dark stenciling. As the story is intended to be read aloud, the writing is sonnet-like with a consistent end rhyme scheme ("I must help them somehow!" he cried / But he could not lift them no matter how hard he tried) which will keep young readers absorbed and interested, waiting for the next beat in the line. At just twenty pages in length, it is also a perfect choice for bedtime.

Most importantly, the tale is genuinely moving and imbued with the author's personal significance. In the "Note to the Reader," M. Anu Narasimhan writes: "The story of The Little Parrot and the Angel's Tears is very close to my heart. It was a bedtime story my grandmother used to tell me and one I have told to my children. I find no matter how old I get or how difficult the circumstances may be, I can always find comfort in this story." Indeed, one will be inspired by the little parrot's determination and the great lengths he will go to help his friends. This is a lesson worth repeating, night after night, with each reading.

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