Childrens Books

The Little Parrot and the Angel’s Tears, by: M. Anu Narasimhan – Book Review

Beautifully bound and illustrated, this short children’s story originated in the verbal storytelling of generations past, eventually being printed in this delightful bedtime storybook. Written and illustrated by Mr. Anu Narasimhan, The Little Parrot and Angel’s Tears has poetic rhythm and rhyme, telling the story of a brave little parrot, who needs to save his friends from a fire of forest.

The story is concise and direct, but since a picture is worth 1,000 words, the depth of the story transcends the short word count. With the dreamlike illustrations done in pen and watercolor, the dominant greens impressing the density of the foliage of the jungle; providing home comforts for parrot friends that include an elephant, deer and rabbit, the gentle rhythm of the words cuddles and nurtures the reader. The book achieves the synergy of images and messages creating a virtual world in the reader’s imagination.

Seeing the burning forest from its treetop perch, the parrot can easily fly out of harm’s way, but realizes its friends on the jungle floor with feet cannot. So the brave parrot goes back to the danger zone and tries to lift the other animals, but in vain. It therefore resorts to several trips to the pond to collect water droplets, then returns over the flames to sprinkle the droplets from its wings, a Herculean effort with an unlikely result.

So brings the character of Devta, the spiritual god of the jungle. In a conversation, Devta tells the parrot to run away, to fly away. However the parrot will not leave his friends in danger. The bravery of the little parrot impresses the deity so much that tears fall like raindrops from Devta’s eyes, smothering the flames, saving the forest and all its inhabitants.

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

Subtle details are everywhere, like 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 this detail. The parrot has a mind of its own, and although instructed by the spirits of the jungle to save itself, it goes against this advice for the heroic role of helping save its friends.

The book has a multicultural theme, stemming from a timeless tribal belief in its values. I believe the little parrot is an ideal gift for a toddler’s birthday present and a valuable addition to school libraries and family collections.

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