Pablo and Birdy

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

Atheneum Books
Publish Date
5.3 X 1.0 X 8.1 inches | 0.9 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Alison McGhee is the New York Times bestselling author of Someday, as well as Dear Sister, Maybe a Fox with Kathi Appelt, Firefly Hollow, Little Boy, So Many Days, Star Bright, A Very Brave Witch, and the Bink and Gollie books. Her other children's books include All Rivers Flow to the Sea, Countdown to Kindergarten, and Snap!. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Laguna Beach, California. You can visit her at Ana Juan is the illustrator of Elena's Serenade by Campbell Geeslin, which School Library Journal called "a fascinating adventure that explores issues of gender roles, self-confidence, and the workings of an artist's heart" in a starred review. Her paintings have appeared on the cover of The New Yorker, on book and album jackets, on film festival posters, and in several European magazines. She is also the illustrator of Frida by Jonah Winter and the author and illustrator of The Night Eater. She lives in Madrid, Spain.


It has been 10 years since Pablo landed on the shores of the diverse community of Isla, with his lavender parrot, Birdy, in tow, to be adopted by Cuban-American Emmanuel. Pablo, no longer satisfied with the origin stories the adults tell him, wants the truth: who put him in the water, and why? And after 10 years, flightless Birdy is now attempting to fly. Isla, famed for its birds, is also famous for the legend of the Seafaring Parrot, a mystical bird said to be able to reproduce any sound in the world. Winds of change, meaning "fortune lost or fortune gained," are coming to Isla. Rumors of Seafarer sightings attract tourists and newscasters to the island in search of the legendary bird. Pablo wonders if Birdy is the Seafarer of legend. McGhee deftly weaves the narrative of Pablo and Birdy with chapters from the point of view of a little, hungry dog who steals baked goods. Further adding to the quirkiness of the tale is the Committee of island birds, all of whom display boatloads of personality despite being limited to parroted speech. Readers will not be surprised at the true nature of Birdy's identity, and they will cheer to see how the community comes together to protect it from outside forces. Birdy and Pablo's relationship, the strongest aspect of the story, has a bittersweet but satisfying ending. A quiet, memorable, fantastical tale beautifully complemented by Juan's illustrations. (Magical realism. 8-12)--Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW "6/15/17 "
An exploration of family and how sometimes special bonds demand great sacrifices. Pablo washed up on the beach of Isla strapped to a baby pool 10 years ago, along with Birdy, a flightless parrot. Where he came from and how he ended up in the ocean with only Birdy to watch over him are mysteries--ones Pablo allows himself to think about only on the anniversary of that fateful day. Isla is a picturesque beachside town famous for its birds, including one whose existence has never been verified: the Seafaring Parrot, who, according to local legend, has seen all and remembers all. As the anniversary of Pablo's arrival nears, a storm is predicted that will bring with it the "winds of change," which spell fortune lost or fortune gained. The only one who may know about Pablo's origins is Birdy. But unlike many of the birds on the island, Birdy doesn't talk. That is, until the winds of change arrive. By the time the storm is over, Pablo will have felt a whirlwind of emotions and learned that feeling sad about what he has lost doesn't take away from what he has achieved. VERDICT This understated book will appeal to readers who savor interpersonal relationships more than action-packed plots.

--School Library Journal "June 1, 2017 "
Pablo was a baby when the "winds of change" guided him to the island of Isla, an inflatable swimming pool as his raft and a protective, curiously colored bird by his side. As Pablo's 10th birthday approaches, his frustration over his lost history flares while Birdy remains flightless and silent. Then the winds of change and their promise of "fortune lost or fortune gained" return to Isla, this time bringing a pastry-thieving dog and a reporter seeking a mythical seafaring parrot, as well as strange behavior from Birdy. McGhee's (Firefly Hollow) tender tale of the search for home, belonging, and identity smoothly incorporates elements of magical realism and powerful allusions to the refugee experience; for various reasons, most of Isla's residents have chosen to make new lives there, something Pablo questions in hopes of better understanding his own past. Playful humor, often involving the Committee--a group of chatty, free-roaming birds that judges the fashion choices of passersby and stirs up trouble--deftly counterbalances the emotional weight of this moving tale.--Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW "May 29, 2017 "