Petunia Paris’s Parrot by Katie Haworth
Published by Five Mile Press
When Petunia Paris’s extravagant parents ask her what she wants for her fifth birthday, Petunia can’t think of a single thing. She has everything a small girl could wish for and more, so she spontaneously requests a parrot. Petunia’s parents duly deliver a magnificent scarlet macaw from Peru, but the resplendent bird says nothing but ‘Squarrk’ much to Petunia’s disappointment. Determined to turn her petulant polly into a chatterbox, Petunia persists, but the result changes Petunia’s perspective forever.
Petunia’s story is engaging and playful without being overly moralistic, gently suggesting that forcing one’s own desires on to another person, or parrot, is not the best plan. Equally, the topic of exotic animals being taken from their natural habitat is raised in a subtle, clever way. The text is embroidered with simple and elaborate words beginning with the letter P, a fun example of alliteration in a picture book context.
Illustrator Jo Williamson chose to present Petunia and her world in a muted palette of pink and pale turquoise, with Petunia’s parrot in vibrant red and blue. The result creates a wonderful, eye-catching contrast and the final double-page spread of a jungle of Peruvian parrots shines with bright colours and lively images. Many of the illustrations are whimsical, especially the titles of Petunia’s library books e.g. Parrot Pentagrams and Pugs, which adds to the overall appeal.
While the book is ideal for ages 3+, all my children enjoyed the story and illustrations, even my 9-yr old daughter!
Katie Haworth is an exciting new talent fresh to the UK from New Zealand, where she was picture book editor at Penguin Books. As well as writing, Katie also works as a senior editor for a children's publisher.
Jo Williamson graduated with an MA in Children's Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art in 2014. She illustrates mostly by hand, in pencil or paint. She works as a freelance illustrator and fashion designer from her beautiful studio by the sea in Hastings.
I’d recommend this book as a humorous tale with a fun twist, complemented by witty language and a gentle moral message.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Katie Haworth
Illustrator: Jo Williamson
Title: Petunia Paris’s Parrot
Publisher: Five Mile Press
Published: July 2016