Friday, April 1, 2011

The Greedy Sparrow

I worked many years as an elementary school librarian and I always loved to read fairy tales, folklore and fables. The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale, written by Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Maria Zaikina, is an Armenian fable. A fable is a story that teaches a lesson about life.
The sparrow in this story has a thorn in his foot. He takes advantage of a woman baking a loaf of bread and tricks her into giving him the bread. The trickster repeats this behavior over and over again, never satisfied with what he has. He finally ends up losing everything and finds himself with another thorn stuck in his foot. The author states, "we learn that people who engage in dishonest or selfish behavior may end up losing whatever they gained because of that behavior."
The book illustrations were rendered with layers of wax and oil paint, and then the layers were cut away to reveal the colors underneath. The illustrations do an excellent job portraying the Armenian culture and landscape. The pictures are colorful and cheerful. The animal's expressions are delightful and humorous.
I think children today need to understand that crime doesn't pay. There will always be consequences for bad behavior. I also like the way the story and the illustrations teach about a far-away place with a strange sounding name. Most American children are probably not familiar with the Republic of Armenia. This would be a wonderful opportunity to get out the globe and talk about  people who live on the other side of the world.
The author provides an excellent study guide and activities on her web site. There are so many lessons that can be taught from this book. Great for children of all ages!
I want to thank Ms. Kasbarian for sending me a digital copy of this book to read and review. It was a real pleasure.

Comments are welcome ~ I love to hear from you!