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World's Worst Parrot: 01/04/20

World's Worst Parrot

World's Worst Parrot by Alice Kuipers opens with Ava learning that she has inherited her great uncle's African gray parrot. There's a note saying the uncle remembered her loving the parrot when she was younger but Ava has no memory of him or the bird.

Ava lives with her mother and brother. Her father is separated or divorced from her mother and has relocated to Vancouver. His leaving has been hard on all of them. Her once carefree mother is now a neat freak and has done a massive decluttering of the home. A parrot (or any sort of animal) doesn't make sense in the sort of environment she has created for herself and her children.

For Ava the biggest conflict comes from her desire to be popular on Instagram. She wants to present herself as living the perfect life. It's a complete fabrication. Gregg, though, posts photos and videos of her with the parrot and those get the sort of numbers of followers, likes, and comments that she's been struggling to get.

At school, too, Ava comes to realize her friendships aren't as genuine as she thought. The parrot ends up being a divisive factor. Her so called friends will only continue being friends if she gets rid of him.

Although the family dynamic is different, World's Worst Parrot reminds me of the Bat books by Elana K. Arnold. In A Boy Called Bat (2017), it's up to Bat to be the skunk kit's champion. He does all the heavy lifting in terms of learning how to care for the skunk and then providing the care. Ava is in the same position with the parrot, the biggest different being that he is an adult bird.

Five stars

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