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Tuko and the Birds: A Tale from the Phillipines    by Shirley Climo & Francisco X. Mora order for
Tuko and the Birds
by Shirley Climo
Order:  USA  Can
Henry Holt, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

I like fables because they evoke the senses, are descriptively told, are lush with detail, and they often contain a subtle moral lesson.

In this retelling of a Filipino fable, a gecko named Tuko comes to a quiet village in the Phillipines. He is named Tuko because of the sound he makes after he eats - it is a loud, squawking sound that disturbs the peace. In fact, when the birds first hear him, they cannot decide if they are hearing an earthquake, a volcano, or perhaps a monster. When previously the village residents loved the tranquility of the birdsongs which helped lull them to sleep, now all they hear is Tuko's extremely loud call.

Despite the intervention of the birds, Tuko cannot get the hint that he isn't wanted. Finally, the eagle Haribon tricks Tuko into leaving by feeding him sticky sap from the gum tree shaped into rhinoceros beetles. With Tuko's mouth stuck together, he rolls away, and peace is restored. Of course, if you listen closely, you can still hear Tuko's voice on moonlit nights ...

Francisco X. Mora's colorful images - predominantly golds and greens - round out this richly drawn story written by Shirley Climo.

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