The Widow and the Parrot

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9780152967833: The Widow and the Parrot

When the house she has inherited from her miserly brother burns down, a widow from Yorkshire adopts a parrot which leads her to a hidden treasure.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Mrs. Gage hears of her brother's death and journeys to collect her inheritance, a house and some 3000 sterling. Her dog was left behind; she is devoted to him and the other animals, despite her poverty. Her brother, on the other hand, was not only miserly but cruel to animalsshe had seen him with her own eyes, as children, "trim a hairy caterpillar with a pair of scissors." The widow arrives to find a small shack with all but worthless contents, and a gray parrot called James that shrieks "Not at home!" The money is nowhere to be found. Mrs. Gage feeds James some sugar and talks to him, as her brother used to, "as if he were a rational being." As she returns home from the solicitors she loses her way in the dark and is saved by the light of a huge fireher brother's house. She worries about the bird and tries to save him. Instead, he saves herhe had ignited the fire and now leads her to her brother's hidden money. The story behind this lighthearted tale of heroism, mystery and kindness to animals is that Woolf had contributed this piece to her nephews' family newspaper. Bell, her grand-nephew, has illustrated the story with watercolors that are, in most scenes, dusky with twilight. All ages.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 2 Up Woolf wrote this tongue-in-cheek Victorian story of kindness rewarded in response to her young nephews' requests for an article for their family newspaper. Poor old Mrs. Gage inherits a house and 3000 from her miserly brother, but when she arrives at the village to claim it, she finds a dilapidated house and a rude parrot. Since the lawyers don't know where the money is, the penniless woman begins her long trek home. Her way is lit by a house burningher inheritanceand, stunned, she returns, concerned about the well being of the parrot. Later that night, the bird leads her to the buried treasure. Woolf's story sounds as if an older aunt were sitting by the fire spinning the story out towards its moral of the rewards of kindness to animals. The watercolor illustrations by her grandnephew provide glimpses of the blues and greens of the Yorkshire countryside where Woolf lived. While this short story is a good choice for reading aloud to older children, it may be of more interest to adult scholars of Woolf's work for a view of the author at play. Susan Hepler, Windsor Public Library, Conn.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by Harcourt Childrens Books (J) (1988)
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Virginia Woolf, Juvenile Collection (Library of Congress), Julian Bell (Illustrator)
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