Jack is a young boy who stays at his father’s house from time to time. Usually his dad tells jokes and they talk, but lately the house seems quiet. Jack worries that his parent feels lonely, just like him. On his next visit, the boy is surprised to learn that his Dad has taken in a parrot that he found on his doorstep. The bright green bird, known as Jimmy, is very talkative with its favorite phrase being “Hello, Jimmy!” His father enjoys talking to the parrot and telling it jokes, as he used to do with Jack. Now the house is no longer quiet. Neighbors are amazed by the animal and Jack wishes people thought he was amazing and worries that his father likes the bird more than him. One night the young boy dreams that his bedroom is full of birds, and he opens a window to let them out. In the morning, he realizes that Jimmy is gone and goes outside searching for him. When the worried father finds his son, Jack learns that his dad was not looking for the parrot, but for him and realizes that strong bond between them will never be broken. Walker’s charming illustrations are done in gouache and pencil with a lot of white space on the initial pages. As the parent and child grow closer, the pages fill with more color and the bare branches of the trees appear replete with foliage.
THOUGHTS: This is an endearing story of the love between father and son. While children living in two homes can connect to the story, many children can relate to the emotions Jack experiences in their own families. A quiet, comforting story that is appropriate for all elementary collections.
Picture Book Denise Medwick, Retired, PSLA Member