Parrots Over Puerto Rico

By Publisher's Weekly

Parrots thrived in Puerto Rico long before the first human settlers arrived some 5,000 years ago; by 1975, only 13 of the birds were still living in the wild. Roth and Trumbore follow The Mangrove Tree with another story of ecological revitalization, explaining the threats the parrots faced over the centuries, including invasive species and deforestation. The authors demonstrate how the parrots’ survival was entwined with Puerto Rico’s very history (bees and rats from Spanish settlers’ ships wreaked havoc on the birds’ nests) before detailing ongoing efforts to rebuild their numbers. The book itself is oriented vertically, calendar-style, amplifying its sense of height and allowing for dramatic paper and fabric collages that show the vivid blue-and-green parrots soaring over the island. In an especially lovely scene, a towering waterfall of crinkled strips of white paper cascades over a fibrous backdrop of rocks in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest. An extensive afterword describes the species’ recovery and includes more than a dozen photographs. A thoughtful and thorough examination of the ways human action can both help and harm animal populations.