David knew that one should be prepared for anything when one climbs a mountain, but he never dreamed what he would find that June morning on the mountain ledge.
There stood an enormous bird, with a head like an eagle, a neck like a swan and a scarlet crest. The most astonishing thing was that the bird had an open book on the ground and was reading from it!
This was David’s first sight of the fabulous Phoenix and the beginning of a pleasant and profitable partnership. The Phoenix found a great deal lacking in David’s education—he flunked questions like “How do you tell a true from a false Unicorn?”—and undertook to supplement it with a practical education, an education that would be a preparation for Life. The education had to be combined with offensive and defensive measures against a Scientist who was bent on capturing the Phoenix, but the two projects together involved exciting and hilarious adventures for boy and bird.
The author wrote a new Foreword in 2000 for our edition, here's a quote from it:
“David and the Phoenix was my first book. I began writing it in the late 1940s when I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley. The kernel of the story popped into my head one day as a vision of a large and pompous bird diving out of a window, tripping on the sill, and crashing into a rose arbor below. Somehow (I’m still mystified by the process) the bird became the Phoenix and the window became a boy’s bedroom window. With that settled, all I had to do was invent what happened before and after.”
A wonderful read-aloud. Illustrated by Joan Raysor.