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The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale
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The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  95 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
2013 Nautilus Awards Silver Winner in the Children's Picture Books CategoryOnce there was a sparrow who caught a thorn in his foot. When a kind baker removes the thorn, the sparrow tricks her into giving him some bread. Each time the sparrow meets new people, he tricks them out of bigger and better things. Will the sparrow’s greed get the best of him? Through this endearin ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Two Lions
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May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a children’s librarian in New York City I am expected to have a full knowledge of existing children’s literature as it pertains, not just to the American publishing industry, but to the world at large. If a group of unusually tall Norwegian women come in asking for children’s books by their countrymen, I am supposed to know how to locate the nearest Jo Nesbo/P.C. Abjorsen title. I have gaps, though. Whole swaths of continents where my knowledge is lacking or useless. For example, let’s say yo ...more
Jun 04, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a book about entitlement and greediness! I think this is a good book to talk about because there is a lot of entitlement going around. The pictures are okay AND It is a good message!
Edward Sullivan
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Simple, accessbile fable about dishonesty and selfishness.
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Multicultural style illustrations are fun, story is unique.
Katie Fitzgerald
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

The Greedy Sparrow is a retelling of a folk tale from Armenia which the author, Lucine Kasbarian, learned from her father. The story begins with a sparrow who has a thorn stuck in his foot. A woman baking bread removes the thorn for him, and the bird goes on his way. Later, though, he returns, demanding the thorn, and when he learns that the woman disposed of it, he demands something else in exchange. As the story progresses, the sparrow make
Michael Fitzgerald

It's somewhat unclear as to whether this is a telling of a traditional Armenian folktale. It seems that there is a folktale (often called The Sparrow) that was first written down by Hovhannes Toumanian (read it at, but the author calls her book "an original composition."

In an interview at she
Janette Fuller
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
"The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale", written by Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Maria Zaikina, is an Armenian fable. A fable is a story that teaches a lesson about life.

The sparrow in this story has a thorn in his foot. He takes advantage of a woman baking a loaf of bread and tricks her into giving him the bread. The trickster repeats this behavior over and over again, never satisfied with what he has. He finally ends up losing everything and finds himself with another thorn stuck in his
Brian Cortes
Kasbarian, Lucine. Zaikina, Maria. The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale. (2011). The book provides an explanation of typical Armenian tales, and that they begin with “Once there was and was not,” implying that it could be a real or it could not. A sparrow has a thorn stuck on its feet, and asks a kind lady who was baking bread to remove the thorn, which she does kindly. The lady throws away the torn into the fire, but the sparrow later returns to claim the thorn which the lady had already burned ...more
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: preschoolers
I picked this book up because the drawings and colors reminded me of Medieval pictures. It ended up being an Armenian tale, so it wasn't Medieval in any way, but I still enjoyed it.

The story is about a sparrow who has a thorn in his foot and asks a woman who is baking bread to remove it for him...she does, and then she tosses it into the oven. When the sparrow wants it back, she obviously can't give it back to him, so he demands some bread as compensation. He next asks a shepherd to watch his br
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Sparrow is a fable meant to teach readers the consequences of greed. In the story, a sparrow demands progressively larger favors until he finally gets too big for his britches, and loses all.

The artwork is created in a style reminiscent of stained glass.

Veg*n Parents Note: There’s a pretty major speed bump in the story that veg*n parents will want to be aware of. The greedy sparrow demands a sheep from a shepherd. He carries of the sheep and leaves her at a wedding party, where he requests that
Young Reader Reaction: Our child initially focused on the drawings and didn't like them. There were times when she would laugh and get excited about what would happen next, and then times she "came back down" because of what happened (e.g., the sheep being slaughtered).

Adult Reader Reaction: Rustic yet simple drawings add ambiance to this Armenian folktale. It is easy to tell where the story is going, and even gets silly (the sparrow flies off with a bride!). I had just concluded that the sparro
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
A classic Armenian folktale finds new life in this picture book adaptation. When a sparrow with a thorn in its foot finds itself capable of fooling a variety of gentle farmfolk into giving up their wares, his greed leads ultimately to his own downfall at the hands of a lute. Gorgeous illustrations and some really fun storytelling establish this as one of those picture books that will work with storytimes just as well as one-on-one reading. Plus its one of the rare folktales being produced today. ...more
Dominique Maderitz
The Greedy Sparrow was an interesting book about a sparrow who stared out with a thorn in his food. A nice lady helped him but as the story went on the sparrow only wanted more and more from the people who helped him. In the end the sparrow is left alone and back to where he started.
I did like the images and pictures in this book however although it was an easy reader. I found some of the events in the book to be strange for a child to understand. I don't know if I would recommend reading this b
This is the retelling of an Armenian fable that is told simply and is beautifully illustrated. Young children might find some humor in the tale of a bird who asks characters to mind his objects as he manages to trade up in every instance. It could be used as the basis for a lesson on friendship, fairness, or on when is enough enough. I'm sure I will read it aloud in my classroom in the years to come. Yet, the book is lovely enough to read with no ulterior lesson motive.
Mary Wallace
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it
The story begins with a sparrow asking a friendly baker to take a thorn from his foot. The sparrow then takes advantage of the bakers kindness and persuades him to give him some bread. From here, the story continues with the sparrow tricking lots of people into taking pity on him and his winnings become increasingly more valuable than the one before.
The sparrow is met with misfortune at the end and the moral of the story is that wrongdoing will never bring you good.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wonder if translation fails this tale. I found it confusing and struggled to really get the point of the tale. I have studied much folklore and I know there are deeper meanings and idioms are important to folklore. Something is this tale is missing. While the artwork is interesting it is to enough to carry the tale. I will not be buying this one for my school library.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, animals
A sparrow with a thorn in his foot tricks a baker into giving him some bread, and then exchanges the bread for grander and grander things. But the story circles back to where it began, leavng the greedy sparrow with nothing but a thorn in his foot.

What a delightful circular tale!
Debby Baumgartner
Sparrow gives a variety items to different characters to watch over for the sparrow. The sparrow returns to find the character has used it so they must give the sparrow something to replace the used item.
Nanor & Co.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
"Guide the seed carefully
and the tree will go upright."
- Armenian Proverb
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great book that teaches about a sparrow that is greedy and and he learns a hard lesson at the end. Nick helps me read this one.
It is similar to Malachy Doyle's The Bold Boy.
Sandy Brehl
Interesting circular story, with a predictable pattern, rich illustration, and reflection of Armenian culture.
Susan Kennedy
Another wonderful circular story. You always want justice in the end.
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I like the artwork.
The illustrations are perfect, full of ethnic detail. The story itself is a bit grim (the adorable sheep on the cover becomes shish kabobs).
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great cautionary tale - be careful what you wish for! Or who you ask to watch your stuff! DPL shelves it in easy books but beginning note gives origins of folktale.
Robin Raines-Bond
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like the unique illustrations in this book. They make you feel like an old folk tale. The story is a good one about being greedy and entitled.
A good circular folktale to add to your "stories around the world" collection.
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
A classic folktale about always wanting more.
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