Petunia Paris's parrot by Katie Haworth

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Ill. by Jo Williamson. Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760403690
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Birthdays, Macaws, Belonging. Opening the initially very pink and powder blue pages I was quickly taken in by the tale of Petunia Paris and her family. Each year they ask Petunia what she wants for her birthday and each year she gets exactly what she asks for. Problem is she has everything she could want so this particular year she says the first thing that pops into her head, a parrot.
And she receives it at her gigantic birthday party, when a pink clown takes the pink wrapping off the cage to reveal a bright read and blue macaw.
She is thrilled, and when everyone has left, settles down to hear it talk. But no matter what she does all he does is squark. She asks everyone, and reads all her books, but to no avail. He just squarks. She becomes frustrated and yells at him while the butler suggests that perhaps she asks him more kindly, which she does, and the macaw opens his heart to her. He tells her that he does not want any of the things she is offering, and all he wants is to go home. So her next birthday when she is six, she does not have to think at all. She knows exactly what she wants. She wants to go to Peru, and so off they go, making her sixth birthday party very different indeed.
The simplest gift turns out to be the best of all gifts for both the macaw and Petunia.
This delightful tale of belonging, of being in the right place will amuse younger readers as they see the macaw is a 'fish out of water' in his new environment and Petunia is to be heralded for finding out where he lives and returning him to his home.
The lively illustrations are full of humour as we watch the family about their breakfast, or at one of the huge birthday parties, or trying to make the macaw feel at home. The pen and water colour drawings are whimsical in their depiction of the fabulous Petunia and her family.
Readers will love seeing where the macaw really lives and be tickled by the last fold out page of the macaw at home. And perhaps grab hold of the idea that not all presents have to be big and bold, expensive or exclusive, a family being together is all that we really need.
Fran Knight