Friday, April 29, 2011
The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale by Lucine Kasbarian, illustrated by Maria Zaikina
The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is retold by author Lucine Kasbarian, whose father told the story to her at bedtime when she was young. In the book, a sparrow gets a thorn in his foot. As he’s flying through the countryside, he happens upon a woman baking bread and asks her to remove the thorn. She happily obliges and the sparrow is on his merry way. However, he soon returns and demands that the baker return his thorn. When she says she threw it in the oven, he demands that she give him a loaf of bread in return. She does, and the sparrow files away, carrying a loaf of bread. The story repeats itself as the bird flies across the Armenian countryside, asking locals to keep an eye on whatever he has and demanding something in return when the original item invariably goes missing. At one point, he even finds himself with an Armenian bride. As folktales go, the greedy sparrow eventually gets his comeuppance. This is the part where readers realize the importance of sharing, being nice to your neighbors, etc.
The story is simple, yet very entertaining. The illustrations give the book an old-fashioned feel – what you would expect to see in Armenian villages of long ago. Word bubbles appear over the bird and the people he interacts with, offering ease in readability for young readers and a bit more interaction. Humorous facial expressions on animals and humans add a nice touch.
This is definitely worth checking out.
Reading level: Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb (April 2011) | ISBN-13: 978-0761458210 | Source: Review copy from publisher
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