The Little Parrot And The Angel's Tears, By: M. Anu Narasimhan - Book Review

Beautifully bound and illustrated, this short children's story found its origin in the verbal storytelling of past generations, finally making it to print in this delightful bedtime storybook. Written and illustrated by M. Anu Narasimhan, The Little Parrot and the Angel's Tears has a poetic beat and rhyme, telling the tale of a brave little parrot, needing to save his friends from a forest fire.

The story is terse and to-the-point, however since a picture is worth 1,000 words, the depth of the story transcends the short word count. Along with the dreamy illustrations done in pen and watercolors, with the dominant green colors imprinting the jungle's density of foliage; providing the comfort to the home for the parrot's friends who include an elephant, a deer and a rabbit, the gentle rhythm of the words cuddle and nurture the reader. The book achieves the synergy of imagery and messaging creating a virtual world in the reader's imagination.

Seeing the forest on fire from its perch high in a treetop, the parrot can easily fly away out of danger, but realizes his friends on the jungle floor with feet cannot. So the brave parrot returns into the danger zone and tries to lift the other animals, but to no avail. So he resorts to making multiple trips to the pond to gather droplets of water, and then back over the flames to sprinkle the droplets from his wings, a Herculean effort with an unlikely successful outcome.

So brings in the character of Devta, the spirit God of the jungle. In a conversation, Devta tells the parrot to save himself, fly away. However the parrot will not leave his friends in danger. The bravery of the little parrot so impresses the deity, that tears fall like raindrops from Devta's eyes, squelching the flames, saving the forest and all its inhabitants.

The strength of will, conflict of a survival instinct, and stubbornness to disregard selfishness imbedded in this story will make an indelible impression on young minds reading this or being read this to them at bedtime. Narasimhan has saved this story from extinction by immortalizing it in such a lovely book, durably printed to last through generations of children growing up.

Subtle details are throughout, such as a banana tree in the background. When I read this to our young daughter, I pointed out that bananas grow "upside down" and she was amazed at that detail. The parrot has a mind of his own, and although instructed by the spirits of the jungle to save himself, he goes against that advice for the heroic role of helping to save his friends.

The book has a multi-cultural theme, from a tribal belief that is timeless in its values. I believe The Little Parrot is an ideal gift item for a toddler's birthday present and a valuable addition to school libraries and family collections.