Say Something, Perico by Trudy Harris
Illustrated by Cecilia Rebora
Published by Millbrook Press
Little Perico, the parrot, lives at the pet store. A woman came to the store, saw Perico and asked if he could talk. She tried to get him to say "Polly-wants-a-cracker", but Perico was thristy so he said "Agua." Unfortunately, neither the pet store owner, nor the woman, spoke Spanish and they thought he said "opera." The woman, who loved opera, bought the parrot thinking it would accompany her to a performance that same evening. As expected, the trip to the opera was a disaster, and Perico was returned to his cage at the pet store.
The scene repeats with different potential owners. Everybody misunderstands Perico because they don't know he's speaking Spanish. So he's always returned to the store. Perico, afraid he'll never find a home, starts practicing at night all the English phrases that people have wanted him to say. Finally, a boy comes to the store and hears Perico speaking English and Spanish and, being bilingual himself, finds him to be the perfect pet.
Say Something, Perico is an entertaining and thought provoking picture book. I love the fact that at the end of the story, Perico is valued for being a bilingual bird. But the road to that resolution was heartbreaking at times, especially when he's called dumb by one of the people at the store, and we see the bird lowering his head, sad and feeling unwanted. At the end, though, there is a happy ending, and Perico is now considered a "clever bird," by the boy's mother.