This month’s book is Bluebird by Bob Staake.
Told solely through pictures, this book is about the friendship between a lonely boy and a bluebird.
A bluebird notices the isolation of a young boy at school. Befriending him, the two spend the afternoon together. But their fun ends when they encounter a group of bullies in the park. Sadly, the bluebird loses its life in defending the boy. The story has an uplifting end, though, when a colorful flock of birds lifts the boy and the spirit of the bluebird into the clouds to say goodbye.
Cooper enjoyed this book (which was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publisher’s Weekly, Barnes and Noble and American Bookseller’s Association). She loved that the hero of the book was a bluebird, but was sad when it sacrificed its life. She hopes that the boy was worth it.
This month’s book is Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies and Jays by Candace Savage.
Bird Brains examines the intelligence of the corvid family. Research on the birds (nest building, raising young, food gathering, mating and play) shows powers of abstraction, memory, and creativity that put them on par with many mammals, even higher primates.
This was nothing new to Cooper, who knows firsthand how brilliant birds can be. She enjoyed this book – particularly the amazing photos (taken by some of the world’s best wildlife photographers).
One of Cooper’s favorite comic books is Strange Adventures which includes the story “Prisoner of the Parakeets”.
“Imprisoned by flock of mammoth birds on an isolated island in the South Pacific, an atomic scientist has to pit his wits against super-intelligent parakeets that threaten to dominate all life on earth.”
Unfortunately, John Walden defeats the budgies.
Or does he??
This month’s book is Parakeet Peter by Rebecca K. Sprinkle (illustrated by Dorothy Grider).
Timmy is given a parakeet by his Aunt Susan (coolest Aunt ever). He names the little blue budgie Peter and learns how to take care of him. Peter loves to play with his toys, take baths and fly about the house. Timmy hopes to teach Peter how to say, “Happy birthday!”. After weeks of no success, Peter finally does say “Happy birthday!”. And he says it on Timmy’s actual birthday – because budgies are awesome that way.
Cooper enjoyed this book. Her favorite part was when Peter would push his ball off the table for Timmy to pick up over and over again. She was a little concerned that the family would let Peter fly free around lit candles, though. Overall, Cooper thought the story and illustrations were charming and would recommend Parakeet Peter to all her friends.
This month’s book is Princess Penelope’s Parrot by Helen Lester (illustrated by Lynn Munsinger).
Princess Penelope is a spoiled and nasty little princess. She receives a parrot for her birthday and proceeds to treat it awfully. The parrot has its revenge when a neighboring prince comes to visit, and all ends well. Cooper enjoyed this book (even though she thought that “Princess Penelope’s Parakeet” would have been a more interesting story). The illustrations were fun, and she was glad to see the princess get her comeuppance.
This month’s book is The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook by Shaun Tan.
My sister introduced me to the work of Shaun Tan, an Australian writer and illustrator. He’s even won an Academy Award for the animated version of his book The Lost Thing.
The Bird King is a collection of illustrations, sketches and ideas by the artist. Cooper loved the whimsical and imaginative artwork. Her favorite was the budgie on the cover and the budgie on page 50. This sketch became an illustration in the book Tales From Outer Suburbia.
(Can you spot the budgie?)
Shaun Tan (with Diego and Snowball) is also a budgie owner. His budgie Eddie helped to inspire one of my favorite stories “Eric”.
This month’s book is Wesley the Owl, by Stacey O’Brien.
This book is the memoir of the nineteen year relationship between biologist Stacey O’ Brien, and Wesley, a four day old barn owlet. Wesley could not be rehabilitated and released in the wild due to nerve damage in one wing, so Stacey adopts him and takes him home. The two bond and have many adventures over the years. Raising an owl is no easy task, but Stacey lovingly cares for the little owl and shares her discoveries about owl behavior.
Cooper thought this book was both moving and educational. She enjoyed reading about Oliver’s exploits – especially his love of baths and magazine ripping (two of her favorite activities). She found the description of mouse preparation/feeding to be disgusting, however. But supposes an owl must eat what an owl must eat. Cooper would recommend this book if you would like some insight into “The Way of the Owl”.
This month’s book is The Widow and the Parrot by Virginia Woolf. Woolf wrote the story for her two young nephews to include in their family newsletter. The illustrations were done by her grand nephew.
The book is about a poor widow who is left an inheritance by her brother (a house and a sum of money). She travels to another village to find that the house is in shambles, and the money is non-existent. What is left for her is a grey parrot named James. Though she is advised to sell the parrot, she befriends and cares for him. Her kindness pays off when James saves her life and guides her to the small fortune her miserly brother had hidden away under the kitchen floor. James, the widow, and her dog live out the rest of their days in comfort.
Cooper enjoyed this book. The story was sweet and she liked the message that being kind pays off in the end. Her favorite part of the book was when James saves the widow from freezing to death in the night.
This month’s book is Feathers in the Fry Pan! by Brandy House. This book was in the budgie box sent by Susan – thanks Susan!
Feathers in the Fry Pan tells of the amusing adventures of Tiger, an adorable little green budgie. Tiger was very affectionate and much loved by his family. He had free reign of the house and was into everything.
This was a cute, but short book (perhaps because Tiger only lived one year). Tiger had some close calls and escaped the house twice. The family’s other bird, a young budgie named Bird, was killed by their dog. While Cooper enjoyed this book, she was disturbed by the untimely ends of Bird and Tiger (budgies need supervision). And she won’t even get into the poor sentence structure and grammatical errors. Although Tiger had a short life, it seemed to be a happy one, and this book certainly depicts the joy of budgie ownership.
This month’s book is Conversations with Cosmo – At Home with an African Grey Parrot. Betty Jean Craige tells of her relationship with her parrot, Cosmo. Cosmo has a vocabulary of over two hundred phrases which she uses to communicate with Betty Jean. Cooper found the book to be insightful and humorous. She loved reading about Cosmo’s jokes and antics, and found the bond between Cosmo and Betty Jean to be very touching. Of course, now Cooper wants an African Grey Parrot of her own.