A Tale of Two Rice Birds

Summary: A classic Buddhist folktale from Thailand adapted for a Western audience, two rice bird mates are separated by death and find each other again when they are reborn as a princess and a farmer’s son. 

A Tale of Two Rice Birds. A book by Childrens Author Clare Meeker
Book Name: 
A Tale of Two Rice Birds

Target Age Group: 6-12

Publisher: Sasquatch Books

ISBN: 1-57061-008-8 

Where to buy: Amazon

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1995 CBC/ABA Pick of the List for “Children’s Books Mean Business” award for A Tale of Two Rice Birds







Illustrations by: Christine Lamb


"Two rice birds ensconce themselves in a teakwood tree, have children and would live happily forever after were it not for a tragic accident and an equally tragic misunderstanding. All is not lost, however, for the love that bound the parent birds follows them into future incarnations, when the female becomes a stubborn princess and the male, a canny peasant. The beauty of the story is matched by Lamb’s panoply of Eastern-inspired illustrations that transform into Thai-like murals. Intricate, pleasing borders and rich colors align with the text to make this book a glorious introduction not only to a timeless tale but also to the artistic and cultural sensibilities of a foreign land.“
-Publisher's Weekly (October 3, 1994)

"This nicely told tale of enduring love is accompanied by vibrant, luminous, stylized illustrations--- a pleasant addition to multi-cultural collections."
-School Library Journal, November 1994

"[The] story works well primarily because of its elegant intrinsic structure and emotions. It’s suspenseful and makes a postmodernist point about the power of storytelling…"
-The New Yorker, December 12, 1994

"…Told in the folk tradition, the story is accompanied by stylized illustrations, based on Thai murals, that use gold-paper collage and dark colors."
-The HORN BOOK GUIDE (July-December, 1994)

"The author’s adaptation not only provides rich illustration for the story but also represents an outside viewpoint that is fresh."
-Supaporn Vathanaprida, Seattle Reference Librarian

 A Tale of Two Rice Birds Book by Clare Meeker

"In the center of Thailand, where the Chao Phrya River flows, there once lived two rice birds. The built their nest in a teakwood tree on a ridge between two rice fields."

Clare's first published book was an adaptation of a traditional folktale from Thailand  with illustrations by Christine Lamb.  Clare traveled in Thailand with her husband, Dan, and learned how this and other folktales are used to pass down to future generations the ancient traditions and Buddhist beliefs that are important to the Thai culture.


Publishing Information

Written by Clare Hodgson Meeker
Illustrations by Chrstine Lamb
Original Hardcover published by Sasquatch Books
ISBN: 1-57061-008-8

Click here for information on Clare’s school presentations around this book

Click here for Rice Birds interactive Page for kids