Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis

The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis

Peter Sis is an acclaimed and award winning children's book author and illustrator.  The Conference of the Birds is Peter Sis's first book for adults.  Sis has adapted the 12th century epic poem written by Farid Ud-Din Attar from Persia and given it meaning for modern readers.  Attar's original poem was published in A.D. 1177.

This is the first time I have ever read or heard of the Persian epic poem, The Conference of the Birds.  This version of the poem is a visual masterpiece.  The words are sparse but the artwork speaks volumes.   The story begins when Attar dreams he is a hoopoe bird and calls a gathering of all the birds in the world.  At the bird conference he tells them to look at all the troubles in the world and proposes a solution.  The birds must go to find the true king, Simorgh, who has all the answers but he lives far away on the mountain of Kaf.  The journey is perilous and beautiful as the birds struggle and strive to finish their story of flight.  They travel through seven valleys:  quest, love, understanding, detachment, unity, amazement, and death.  The story of the journey of the birds mimics the human journey of life. For those that choose to read this book, it will deepen your understanding of the human mysteries, the joys and sorrows, and the lessons life has to offer.

The Conference of the Birds is a book that is timeless, a beautiful work of literary art.  It is the type of book that collectors will want to keep on their shelf or coffee table and share with future generations.  I plan to keep my copy in a special place and reread it from time to time.  The illustrations are so beautiful and the images of birds compiled with the love of flight and feathers is so gratifying to me.  Of course I am a huge fan of Peter Sis and his work,  his children books are some of my favorites. 

Quote by Hoopoe bird:  When you feel empty, you have to open up your heart and let the wind sweep through it.

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