Billy and Emma

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“Best friend macaws Billy and Emma share a cage at the zoo . . . A simple, appealing animal story and language well-suited to beginning readers. Hale’s bright, cartoonish watercolors emphasize the birds’ beauty and personalities, as well as the delicious freedom of flight.” -Booklist

 
 
 

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From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3-Billy and Emma, two macaws, do tricks and talk (“When do we eat?-Lazy oaf-Pretty bird, pretty bird”) for the zoo visitors until a robber steals Emma one night. With the help of a clever crow, Billy breaks out of his cage; friendly pigeons lead them to their kidnapped friend, and a rescue is staged. Returning home, they are greeted joyfully by the other animals. When the robber shows up again, the macaws aid in his capture by warning the zookeeper and screeching “Call the police!” The watercolor illustrations tell the story but lack the warmth or visual depth of those Hale created for Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen’s Elizabeti’s Doll (Lee & Low, l998). A peripheral informational note on the intelligence of birds is appended. An additional purchase.–Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA

From Booklist

Best friend macaws Billy and Emma share a cage at the zoo, performing tricks for the crowds, until a scary thief steals Emma in the night, and Billy is left alone. The zookeeper’s search is unsuccessful, so Billy and friend Nancy the crow fly out to look for themselves. Nancy’s pigeon acquaintances lead them to the apartment where Emma is held captive. She escapes, and everyone returns to the good life at the zoo. Later, the robber returns, but Billy and Emma are able to send out a warning signal so all ends happily. This is a good transitional picture book, with a simple, appealing animal story and language well-suited to beginning readers. Hale’s bright, cartoonish watercolors emphasize the birds’ beauty and personalities, as well as the delicious freedom of flight. A concluding note offers more facts about bird intelligence for young animal fans. –Gillian Engberg

Each of my books about kids in other countries–Iran, the Balkans, Sudan–was created when I got to know kids from other cultures who finally had been resettled in my town of Portland, Maine. They are now American kids, my neighbors and yours, who came from poverty and war.

Read about other parts of the world and take a journey there through the eyes of other kids your age. Travel by stories!
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