cover image Lorenzo, the Naughty Parrot

Lorenzo, the Naughty Parrot

Tony Johnston, Terry C. Johnston. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-249350-9

Well-crafted stories sprinkled with Spanish and set in Mexico depict the antics of a personable if pesky family parrot. Lorenzo lives by a simple code: whatever he does, he does to protect and enrich the lives of his people. To approaching visitors, ``He squawked loudly as if to say . . .`Behave yourself or answer to me.' '' In a notable, somewhat unusual picture-book device, Johnston presents four separate ``chapters,'' in one of which--``La Reina''--Papa's repairs on his old car are interrupted by Lorenzo's unscheduled dip in the motor oil. Although the children bathe the naughty bird, ``the oil would take a long time to come off.'' In another story, Lorenzo creates new decor underfoot when he leaves scratchy clawprints on the tiles Papa makes for Mama's new floor. Rendered in chalky earth tones, Polito's illustrations, though tending toward the rudimentary, transmit a feeling that is at once exotic and familiar. The security to be found in living everyday events in an uncomplicated manner shines through both text and pictures and conveys a feeling of comfort and warmth. Ages 6-12. (Oct.)