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Children's LiteratureFollowing the engaging format of other titles in this series for elementary school students, this volume examines the diversity of parrots: their anatomy, habitat, chick-rearing skills, neighbors and predators, group behavior, and endangerment from humans. Brief chapters of four to six paragraphs are set off graphically for easy reading with boxes, excellent photos, and useful illustrations of the parts of a rain forest and the regions of the world where parrots can be found. If the balance between detail and generalization in this volume is less satisfying than in some of the other entries in the series, there is still a huge amount of information communicated here in 32 pages. Chapter divisions and sequence are satisfying, especially the "Baby File," describing how chicks remain with parents for up to two years; "Favorite Foods," which explains how parrots use their tongues to help eat food they cannot see when it is held in their claws (due to the position of their eyes), and the fact that, in addition to nuts and seeds, some parrots eat clay. A weak feature of these books is a section written in the first person, here titled "A Parrot's Day," which strikes an odd, anthropomorphic note. The book does a good job of setting its subject in greater context by discussing the relationship of parrots to other animals, to their environment, and to human beings who have kept parrots as pets, the book says, since the early 1500's. Part of the "All About Wild Animals" series. 2004 (orig. 2002), Gareth Stevens Publishing, Ages 7 to 12.
—J. H. Diehl