There's a streak and a shriek of magic about the capital's parakeets. Many Londoners are totally unaware of the colourful birds until, one day, a flash of green and an exotic squawk jolts them awake. You never forget your first time. It's like discovering that fairies really exist.
Cue this wonderful new children's book from Lucy Reynolds and Jenna Herma, AKA Doodles and Scribbles. Parrots Don't Live in the City! tells the story of two children. Jack is convinced he's seen a parrot lurking in the trees, while Emily remains unconvinced. The skip their way through London's parks, looking for the colourful birds — all told in rhyming couplets.
The book is joyfully illustrated, with plenty of hidden minibeasts to seek out, and more flashes of green than the Incredible Hulk's sports day. Some birds swoop into view, while others hide in the foliage.
My own two-year old is very aware of the parrots, having witnessed scenes like this. She can't put the book down, and loves to leaf through the pages, pointing out the hidden parakeets.
If you have a child who's yet to meet the vivid birds, Parrots Don't Live in the City! will have them itching to go on a field trip. That first sighting will convince them — and you — that there is still some magic left in this world.
Parrots Don't Live in the City! is available now, from Waterstones, selected independent book stores, and direct from the authors, priced £7.99. It is suitable for children aged 2-6 years.
See our guide to seeing, and getting covered in, London's parakeets.