A child in Brazil experiences the beauty and wonder of the natural world, and comes to understand his role within it.
Francisco’s grandmother has a surprise for him. In her backyard is a guava tree, and in the tree hangs a cage containing two magnificent green birds. They are parakeets, his grandmother says. Francisco has never seen birds so green, so beautiful. He imagines them sitting on his hand, or murmuring in his ear as he scratches the backs of their heads.
Every day Francisco walks to his grandmother’s house to help her care for the birds. But no matter what food they are offered, the birds will not eat or drink or speak. Perhaps their cage is too small, thinks Francisco. But moving the birds into a bigger cage only seems to frighten them.
Then, on the sixth day, Francisco arrives at Grandma’s and hears a big commotion in the backyard. The guava tree is full of parakeets, just like the ones in the cage. All the parakeets are screaming. Inside the cage, the two birds hop and flap and seem to be calling to the parakeets outside. And that’s when Francisco knows what the green parakeets need to be happy — and what he and his grandmother have to do.
Key Text Features
table of contents
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
About the author
Geraldo Valério was born in Brazil, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing, followed by a Master of Arts at New York University. His many highly acclaimed books include My Book of Birds (described in Booklist as “striking and beautiful”); At the Pond (two starred reviews); Friends (one starred review); Blue Rider (two starred reviews); Turn On the Night (three starred reviews) and The Egg (two starred reviews). His work has been published in many countries, including Canada, the US, Brazil, Portugal, France, the UK and China. Geraldo lives in Toronto.
Vivid spot and double-page art adorn this gentle beginning chapter book. … The relationship between grandmother and grandson is tender and realistically portrayed, while their patience with and growing understanding of the parakeets in their care will resonate with any new pet owner.
A deeply felt episode exploring themes of family ties and empathy for wild creatures.
A gentle story about the need for freedom.
International Educator Global Book Recommendations
A touching memoir that reflects the learning journey of a boy, Francisco, and the bond he has with his grandmother, Antonia … Valerio tells his story with ease and sensitivity, revealing the gifts that come with observation and caring for others.
Children's Literature Comprehensive Database