When Edward Ormondroyd was about thirteen, his family moved from Pennsylvania to Ann Arbor, Michigan. He and a friend began to read Arthur Ransome's boating stories and, inspired by the adventures of the Swallows, built their own fourteen-foot sailboat and tried to re-create that English magic on the Huron River.
In 1943 he graduated from high school and joined the Navy. Destroyer Escort 419 was his home for the next two years. "When the war was over, she looked in on China and Korea, and came home. She did show me San Francisco Bay at dusk. One look convinced me that I would like to live by it; and I have, ever since."
After the war, Mr. Ormondroyd went to the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated in 1951, and since then has been busy writing, sailing as able seaman aboard a tanker, and working as a bookstore clerk and machine tender. He lives in Berkeley, California. He is married and has one son.
It was while Mr. Ormondroyd was at college that David and the Phoenix first intruded into his consciousness. "One day, when I was walking across campus, I had a sudden vision of a large and pompous bird diving out of a window, tripping on the sill, and falling into a rose arbor below. I had to explain to myself why the poor bird was in such a situation in the first place, and what became of it afterwards. The result of my investigation was David and the Phoenix."
Illustrated by Joan Raysor
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.
A wonderful read-aloud book, adventurous and very funny, with much of the magic as well as the humor of the fantastic.
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