Beverly Jatwani (text) and Sunita Chawdhary (illustrator), Pedro the Puerto Rican Parrot, Little Steps Publishing, March 2021, 28 pp., RRP $14.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781922358684
Pedro the Puerto Rican Parrot is the first book in a seven book series called Together We Can Change the World. It’s a series dedicated to helping children embrace their emotions and to see the power in them; emotions like love, courage, compassion, respect, kindness, integrity and gratitude.
In addition to helping children embrace and understand the power in their emotions, the series also wants them to feel a sense of responsibility towards the earth and its animals.
Pedro is Puerto Rican parrot, and one of the rarest birds on earth. His story is one that focuses on love.
The book opens with Pedro on the front steps on a local rescue centre, where the owner Mr Gonzales finds him. Pedro’s wing has been badly injured.
Just as Mr Gonzales is taking care of Pedro, Dominic and his mum come in with some food for the centre. Pedro is squawking up a storm, but Dominic immediately wants to keep him. However, when his mum points out that they aren’t able to give Pedro the constant care his injury needs, Mr Gonzales suggests that Pedro come to the centre to take care of him – and to give him plenty of love.
From there Dominic diligently takes care of Pedro, and does his best to win him over – every day after school in fact. Until one day, Dominic discovers that Pedro has been adopted by a family, who promised to take care of him until he’s ready to be released into the wild.
I think from there you can guess what happens! Dominic finds Pedro at home, and takes care of him until he is ready to be released into the wild. Dominic promises Pedro that he will protect him, and the other animals of the rainforest.
Pedro the Puerto Rican Parrot is a simple story, that effectively places a child at the centre of saving Pedro. Dominic gives up afternoons after school to take care of him, and understands the importance of releasing him, and protecting other animals like him.
In addition, Sunita Chawdhary’s illustrations are vibrant and colourful and together with the story, makes for a striking and engaging read.
Reviewed by Verushka Byrow