The Talking Parcel – Gerald Durrell

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Moon carrot Pie, Moon carrot Pie
It’ll liven you up, bring a gleam to your eye.
Oh, a cow in a manger, a pig in a sty
They all love their slices of Moon carrot Pie

said the parcel in two different voices.
‘It’s incredible,’ said Peter. ‘What do you think it is? A couple of dwarfs?’  But it wasn’t dwarfs, for when the children opened up the parcel, there sat an extraordinary rainbow-hued parrot and a tiny golden spider.

This is the start of a delicious, fast-moving fantasy that sweeps Penelope, Simon and Peter off to the amazing land of Mythologia.



I bought this in a rush of nostalgia for the animal-packed adventure stories of my childhood, and was excited to introduce it to my children.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Aside from a few old-fashioned attitudes, this book has really stood the test of time.

The plot is packed with action and intrigue; the world of Mythologia, with its unique flora and fauna, is beautifully imagined; and the characters are as quirkily endearing as I had fondly remembered.

We’ve read this as our bedtime story over the course of weeks and both the 2 and 5 year old (boy and girl) were entranced, once they’d got used to ‘making the pictures in your own head’, that is!

This is perfect for a jolly old adventure story with nothing to alarm the young but plenty of imagination and enough of Gerald Durrell’s quiet humour to entertain adult readers too.


   Oswald peered closely into the dinghy.  “Why,” he said in pleased surprise.  “It’s Parrot, I do believe.  How nice to see you.  But what are you doing sailing about in a blue crumpet?  Very dangerous, you know, my dear fellow, you might get eaten by someone.  Then where will you be?  If you must sail about, do it properly in a galleon or something of the sort.
“This is not a crumpet, it’s a boat,” roared Parrot.
“Goat?” said Oswald.  “No, no, my dear Parrot.  I hate to contradict you, but I saw a goat once and it looked nothing like that, besides goats don’t float and they’re not blue.  No, no, mark my words – it’s a crumpet.  One of them blue Marzipan ones they make in Bulgaria.”
“I can’t talk to you without your ear trumpet,” shouted Parrot.  “I’m getting hoarse.”
“No,” said Oswald, “It’s not a horse either.  I mean, I may be mistaken.  It could, I suppose, be a blue muffin, but I doubt it; I very much doubt it.  I don’t think a muffin would float so well.”

– Gerald Durrell, The Talking Parcel


gerald-durrell-weekSadly Gerald Durrell is no longer with us, but you can find his (many) books on Goodreads or buy them from Amazon or any good bookshop.

You can find out more about his conservation work at this website or take a trip to Jersey Zoo and see his work for yourself!


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