BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Let Me Help! | ¡Quiero Ayudar! by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Angela Domínguez

Let Me HlepHappy Cinco de Mayo from Perico and his human family!

While everyone busily prepares for the big picnic and festivities on the rented barge that will float down the San Antonio River, Perico the parrot looks for ways he can help, too. But Grandmother and Aunt Lupe chase him away from making tamales, Elena and Mama can make the tissue flowers without him, Aunt Alicia can’t concentrate getting Lupita and Carmen ready if he’s flapping around, and Antonio and Francisco can’t practice their mariachi number with his added noise … what’s a helpful parrot to do?

Drawn by the colors and sounds of the celebration, Perico flies to the River to watch. Soon he finds his human family’s decked-out barge, and swoops down to his rightful place, atop the beautiful flowers, as he adds his joyful songs. “He had finally found a way to help. It wasn’t by trying to do what others could do, but by doing what no one else could. And he did it by being himself, his wonderful self.”

While the bilingual story is a heartwarming celebration of family love (which includes the feathered and furry, too), I must add a note of caution about birds as pets. Illegal exotic bird smuggling and selling are, unfortunately, still a problem throughout the world. The safest and most responsible way to obtain a feathered family member is through a reputable breeder.

However, as these birds are hand-raised with most of their ‘wildness’ bred out of them, they can no longer survive on their own. Most domesticated birds, therefore, do not because they often can not (as wings are usually clipped) fly free as Perico does in this story, and especially not out of the confines of their human family’s homes. To prevent any flyaway losses, families with birds might want to remind their younger readers that Perico’s adventures need to remain on the page.

Readers: Children

Published: 2010

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