parrots over puerto rico

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

This exceptional nonfiction picture book tells the story of the Puerto Rican parrot.  It is a bird that has flown over Puerto Rico for millions of years but almost became extinct in the 1960s.  The book tells of the changes that came to Puerto Rico and its environment thanks to settlers, wars, hunting, and foreign invasive species.  Forests began to disappear too, so the parrots were limited to living in just one place.  By 1967, only 24 parrots lived in Puerto Rico.  With them almost extinct, people started trying to save the parrots.  The book tells the story of rescued parrots, storms and the dedicated scientists who figured out how to save this species from disappearing entirely.

Roth and Trumbore tell this story deftly.  They focus on what was almost lost, a sky crowded with these blue and green birds.  The book explores the history of Puerto Rico, tying it closely and innately into the story of the parrots themselves.  The entire book is fascinating and becomes even more compelling when the story turns to the rescue efforts.  Small victories such as saving a young parrot’s wings are celebrated, while the larger effort is also looked at in detail. 

Roth’s collages are exquisite.  She captures the beauty of the birds, as you can see from the cover image above, but also the beauty of Puerto Rico itself with all of its lush greens.  The book is beautifully designed as well.

A dazzling nonfiction book that will be welcome in classroom discussions and units about conservation and environment.  Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from digital copy received from Lee & Low and Edelweiss.