Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines

Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Philippines

by Shirley Climo, Francisco Mora
     
 

Life was peaceful on the small Philippine island of Luzon. The men fished, the women cooked, the children played games, and the birds sang. Everyone knew it was time for bed when they heard the birds' good-night song.

Then Tuko arrived. Tuko, the gecko, bellowed his name five times every time he ate—day or night. Everyone was miserable from lack of sleep.

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Overview

Life was peaceful on the small Philippine island of Luzon. The men fished, the women cooked, the children played games, and the birds sang. Everyone knew it was time for bed when they heard the birds' good-night song.

Then Tuko arrived. Tuko, the gecko, bellowed his name five times every time he ate—day or night. Everyone was miserable from lack of sleep. That is, until Haribon the eagle devised a plan to trick Tuko into leaving for good.

Tuko and the Birds is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A lively choice for storytime.” —School Library Journal

“Another simple, deft presentation by the author and illustrator of that modest gem, The Little Red Ant and the Great Big Crumb.” —Horn Book

“Laugh-worth story of innovation and trickery.” —Kirkus

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
High atop Mount Pinatubo, the birds of the island make their homes and practice their songs. The breeze carries their music to the people of Luzon who use their songs to tell the time. When a noisy gecko arrives with his loud, incessant "TUKO! TUKO!," the birds cannot sing. The people grow irritable without the evensong that tells them it is bedtime. The birds try several schemes to rid themselves of the annoying gecko but it is Haribon the eagle who comes up with a solution. He fashions Rhinoceros beetles from rubbery sap, and when the greedy gecko bites into them his jaw is glued shut. With a mighty push, eagle sends him bouncing down the mountainside. Tranquility is restored. The lively Filipino tale is filled with equal parts trickery and humor that will have readers cheering for the eagle's cleverness. There is a sense of justice as gecko gets his comeuppance. Soft watercolors in blues and green are the perfect backdrop for the colorful birds. This single edition will fill a void for worthy tales from this island nation. A brief source note is included. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4- Each evening, the birds on the island of Luzon gather in an abandoned hut on Mount Pinatubo, and their "good-night songs" waft down to Maynilad and let the villagers know that it is time to prepare for bed. One night, however, Tuko, an arrogant gecko, barges into the hut with his "ear-splitting," "TUK-O! TUKO!" His calls keep the feathered creatures awake night after night, making them too tired to sing and leaving the people confused about when to go to sleep. Every ploy the birds try to entice Tuko back to his swamp backfires until Haribon the eagle finally devises a successful plan. Climo's retelling, sprinkled with Filipino words defined within the text and in a glossary, is infused with humor. After the birds describe Tuko's singing as a "volcano," "earthquake," and "typhoon," he quips, "Wasn't I grand?" Watercolor illustrations depict a village with bamboo houses and people going about their daily lives of fishing, food preparation, and play. The expressions on the brightly colored birds' faces as their plans repeatedly go awry and the scene in which Tuko contentedly rubs his belly after the eagle serves him a wasp feast are priceless. Climo provides a lengthy note about this tale, which is a lively choice for storytime.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Birdsong lulls the people on the isle of Luzon to sleep each night, because the birds practice their music in an abandoned house atop Mount Pinatubo and the evening breeze carries the sweet noise down. Haribon the eagle is too large to fit inside the house, so he lingers outside to enjoy the music. Until a lizard arrives. "I am Tuko the gecko, and I've come to sing," the lizard says. But Tuko's song is far from pleasant, and his very presence makes the birds unable to open their mouths. So Haribon sets to work. His first effort-offering Tuko a goodbye present-fails, but then the eagle comes up with a brilliant idea, comprised of sticky tree sap sculpted into the shape of beetles. If the plan succeeds, perhaps Tuko will go back where he belongs! Climo's text makes the most of Tuko's overbearing obnoxiousness, his braying TUKOs rendered in an upper-case shout that invites audience participation. Mora's softly colored realistic watercolors nicely complement this laugh-worthy story of innovation and trickery. (glossary, author's note) (Picture book/folklore. 5-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805065596
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
04/29/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.65(w) x 10.15(h) x 0.36(d)
Lexile:
AD650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

SHIRLEY CLIMO is the author of a number of successful books for children, including Monkey Business. Ms. Climo lives in Los Altos, California.

FRANCISCO X. MORA has previously collaborated with Ms. Climo on The Little Red Ant and the Great Big Crumb. Mr.Mora lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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