The Secret Message
Written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. Ages 7-10.
This is a tale about a Persian merchant who captures a beautiful parrot from one of his trips to India. The Parrot sings all day of longing to be free and attracts a huge crowd to the shop. This helps the merchant become very rich and he, inturn, rewards the parrot with a large golden cage.
On his next visit to India to buy goods for his shop, he takes requests from his wife, his daughters and the parrot. The parrot wants only one thing. He wants his fellow parrots in India to know that he lives far away, he misses flying with them, he misses their sweet voices, the smell of the trees . . . and that he lives in a large golden cage with three swings.
The merchant buys the jewels for his wife and the silks for his daughters. When he sees the other parrots, he passes on his parrot’s message to them. They drop lifeless to the ground. The merchant is shocked but moves on.
What happens on his return is the fun part. Based on a poem by Rumi, I remember this story from my childhood and it felt good to revisit it!
The illustrations are colorful and lively and the parrot’s characterization is done quite well. The architectural and the cultural detail adds beautifully.