cover image Rosa's Parrot

Rosa's Parrot

Jan Wahl. Charlesbridge Publishing, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-58089-011-3

A mischievous parrot wreaks havoc when he plays a trick on his hard-of-hearing owner in this jaunty tale of friendship and forgiveness. Rosa dotes on Pico, her pet parrot. More than just a companion, the little bird is also a help to her, repeating people's questions loudly so that she can hear. On a trip to town one day--after a cumulative interlude in which their twosome expands to include Mayor Flan, Inez the flower woman, Pepe the violinist and Pepe's dogs--Pico can't resist the urge to play a prank and causes a melee in the marketplace. All's well in the end, of course, as Rosa first scolds and then, after a suitable interval, wordlessly pardons her rascally pet. Wahl (I Met a Dinosaur) adroitly delineates the relationship between the old woman and the bird, and he fuels his prose with repetitive elements that enhance the story's read-aloud potential. Howard's (Mediopolito/Half Chicken) arresting, vibrant art plays up the tale's south-of-the-border flavor. Applying hot tropical hues in swaths of vigorous brushwork, she creates densely packed explosions of color, line and form. The art is almost too energetic in spots, so that the type is sometimes swallowed by the paintings. But for those who like their art on the peppery side, this will be a fiesta for eye and ear. Ages 6-10. (Feb.)