ALEX THE PARROT by Stephanie Spinner

ALEX THE PARROT

No Ordinary Bird
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 10
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Irene Pepperberg's African gray parrot learned to speak and understand English so well he changed both public and scientific beliefs about animal communication and cognition.

Named Alex, for Avian Learning EXperiment, the parrot was randomly acquired from a pet shop for graduate student Pepperberg’s research. Spinner deftly summarizes the next 30 years of his training, gradual learning and public attention, ending with his untimely death in 2007. The author weaves in information about other talking animals: Clever Hans, the horse who read his trainer's unconscious cues, and the signing apes Washoe and Koko. She concludes with some outcomes of Pepperberg’s studies and her current research. But it is Alex's story, told with admiration and acceptance, that is the essence of this appealing title. Organized topically into short chapters, the chronology of his life remains clear. So's illustrations, done with colored ink and pencils, watercolors and gouache, show parrots in the wild and the pet store and, especially, Alex in action. Sometimes his words appear in colorful speech bubbles. These images, set directly on the white pages, above, below or alongside the text, filling an opposing page or bleeding across the fold, emphasize Alex’s personality but also add to readers’ understanding of the research work.

Bird lovers will be charmed. (author's note) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86846-7
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2012




MORE BY STEPHANIE SPINNER

ChildrenPADDYWACK by Stephanie Spinner
by Stephanie Spinner
ChildrenDAMOSEL by Stephanie Spinner
by Stephanie Spinner
ChildrenTHE NUTCRACKER by Stephanie Spinner
by Stephanie Spinner

MORE BY MEILO SO

ChildrenWONDERFUL YOU by Lauren McLaughlin
by Lauren McLaughlin
ChildrenBRONZE AND SUNFLOWER by Cao Wenxuan
by Cao Wenxuan
ChildrenFOLLOW THE MOON HOME by Philippe Cousteau
by Philippe Cousteau

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenSLAP, SQUEAK & SCATTER by Steve Jenkins
by Steve Jenkins
ChildrenBEASTLY BRAINS by Nancy F. Castaldo
by Nancy F. Castaldo
ChildrenABOUT PARROTS by Cathryn Sill
by Cathryn Sill
ChildrenCROW SMARTS by Pamela S. Turner
by Pamela S. Turner