- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Children's LiteratureThis coming of age novel utilizes an unusual, but very successful format. The story emerges from a teen's viewpoint and also from a macaw's viewpoint. Chapters alternate between the 13-year-old boy and the 65-year-old bird. The intriguing plot is built around the boy, Ben, who was only a baby when left with the Professor. Ben, the Professor, and Murphy the macaw travel from town to town performing Shakespeare and selling bottled elixir. Ben and Murphy clash at times. However, as the story progresses they develop a mutual understanding of and respect for each other. Professor and Murphy feel a strong urge drawing them to Flamingo, Florida. There Ben tangles with a 12-year-old girl, Bess, who sports a tough front. She and her very ill 16-year-old brother, Enoch, are on their own in the world. To make ends meet they illegally kill egrets, for feathers that are sold to make feathered hats for women. Ben finds himself in a situation where he helps Enoch recover from his illness even though he does not approve of the bird killing. To add to his troubles, Ben rescues two baby egrets to raise until they are strong enough to be on their own. In the end, Ben trusts his heart and does what he feels is right for his friends and the birds. The touching tale is presented in an intriguing way. Readers will come away with a satisfaction when the troubles are resolved and with a new appreciation of the environment. 2003, Walker Publishing Company, Ages 9 to 14.
— Nancy Garhan Attebury