I love books. I am constantly keeping an eye out for new reading material. One thing I collect is bird books – for the books I love, I keep two copies on hand so I always have an extra to loan a friend. Recently I’ve been introduced to some wonderful children’s books, like Bubba & the Sweet Pea. I have several friends with children, and make an effort to have books on hand that can be entertaining and educational, introducing the kids into my world of parrots.
I was recently sent a copy of The Lonely Parrot. This beautifully illustrated children’s book was written by bird owner Lisa Kelley. The first line is “JoJo was the loneliest parrot in the world.” The story line is that of JoJo the moustached parakeet, purchased as a baby bird by a loving family. The family had a little boy named Sammy who vowed that JoJo would be his best friend forever. JoJo and Sammy grew up together, working on homework, taking showers, and being playmates. Then, as Sammy got older, he spent less time with JoJo.
As JoJo came to terms with spending less time with Sammy, he thought maybe Momma Diane would fill Sammy’s shoes. Unfortunately, Momma Diane had a full time job that prevented her from being able to spend the time with JoJo that he so desperately craved. Eventually, JoJo tried to get Momma Diane’s attention by talking, then shrieking. He stopped coming out of his cage, and when he did come out, he would sometimes bite Momma Diane’s finger. Eventually, JoJo became depressed, and Momma Diane knew what to do to fix it.
She introduced JoJo to a man and his wife, who fell in love with JoJo and took him home. JoJo had a new family, and two new feathered companions to play with. He became happy, and was not lonely anymore. The last line in the book is “And he feels happy, special, and most of all, LOVED.”
The first time I read this book, I will admit it was not what I was expecting. I enjoyed the story line but was slightly dismayed at the rather sad turn the book took. The ending was wonderful, but upon first read I had mixed emotions. “What a depressing book!” I thought. “Family buys bird, boy loves bird, boy grows up, bird grows depressed, family gives away bird. What kind of book is this?” But then, as I slowly read the story again, I realized how accurately this book portrays an unfortunately large percentage of the population that is pet parrot owners.
No home is forever. However good our intentions may be, the fact is that most parrots may outlive us, or our circumstances change throughout our lives so much that we may not be able to be a proper avian care providers twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years down the road. 10 out of 11 birds I have living with me came to be here for one reason all another, but it all boils down to one thing: their former home was no longer able to care for them in the capacity the bird needed.
The Lonely Parrot is a wonderful, easy to read children’s book that teaches children the real plight of parrot ownership. You feel JoJo’s loneliness as his best friend grows up, his unhappiness when Momma Diane simply doesn’t have time for him. You worry for him as the illustrations show him depressed in his cage. Finally, you feel encouraged a Momma Diane decides to cheer JoJo up, and happiness when JoJo’s new family comes in and instantly falls in love. Every parrot deserves that same level of happiness, and JoJo is no exception!
If you have kids, or have friends with kids – buy them this book. It is available online, in hardback, paperback, and as an ebook for your Kindle or Nook. Lisa Kelley has a done a wonderful job with this book – so please, do yourself a favor and grab a copy.