This month’s book is Dogbird by Paul Stewart.
Alice gets a budgie for her seventh birthday. Her father names their new pet Dogbird -because he doesn’t talk. What he does is bark like the family’s three Labradors. The dogs and Dogbird cause a commotion with all their barking – even disturbing the neighbors. Things quickly escalate and Alice and her friend decide to set Dogbird free. This does not go well when wild birds chase poor, frightened Dogbird. Luckily, he is able to fly safely home.
The family decides that Dogbird should go live with Grandma. Grandma is thrilled with Dogbird. She renames him Bluey, and he even learns a few phrases. Not only is Bluey a wonderful companion, but because of his barking, he is an excellent guardbird.
Cooper thought this book was terrific. She liked the illustrations (by Tony Ross). She was nervous when the dogs knocked over Dogbird’s cage, and even more so when the wild birds were attacking Dogbird. She was glad the book had a happy ending and Dogbird/Bluey ended up with a new name and someone who loved him.
This month’s book is That Quail, Robert by Margaret Stanger.Cape Cod, 1962 – on finding an abandoned quail egg, Thomas and Mildred Kienzle bring it home. After washing and disinfecting it, they leave it on a counter as a decoration. Soon, Robert the quail emerges and becomes a cherished member of the family. The book is written by Margaret Stanger, their neighbor and quail sitter.
Robert’s antics and personality make her a local and later, national celebrity. Thousands of people would visit the Kienzle’s to meet Robert. From swallowing one of Mildred’s diamonds to taking a bath in the broccoli and cream sauce at a dinner party, Robert is always entertaining. Cooper thought this book was sweet and charming and thinks that we should adopt a quail or two. Her favorite part of the book was when Robert proved she was female by laying an egg.
This month’s book is Night Outside by Patricia Wrightson.After their father throws (!!) their pet budgie out the window, Anne and James go out into the dark to search for him. Along the way they meet the strange and unusual people of the night. The most interesting character of the book was William, a blue and yellow budgie (of course). The people of the night introduce the children to the concept of eternity and the here and now. The children do find William and are reunited with their father, who comes out to search for them. This was an unusual story and very philosophical for a children’s book. Cooper wasn’t sure she “got it”, but was happy that William wasn’t eaten by the cat lady’s numerous stray cats. It was a little up in the air whether William would eventually go home with the children. Cooper hopes not, as she was not a fan of the father.
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.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Jonathan is a seagull who is not content to live the life of an ordinary bird. He loves to fly – and pushes himself to greater heights and speed. His shenanigans ultimately cause him banishment from his flock. This frees Jonathan to explore flight, discover other planes of existence and pursue self-perfection.
Cooper enjoyed this book, especially the passages about flying and the photos of the seagulls. Cooper thought the story was short and sweet and she liked its inspirational message.
Maxie by Betty Basler Barboza
This short, but sweet little book (recommended by Susan) is about a budgie named Maxie and his life with the Basler family. Maxie was a charming and talkative little fellow, who had a series of amusing adventures. Cooper’s favorite parts of the book where when Maxie saved baby Brad’s life (from poisoning!) and when Maxie dropped his toys to the floor (a game Cooper likes to play). The family loved Maxie so much they had him stuffed after he died (that’s stuffed Maxie on the cover – yikes).
This month’s book was Of Parrots and People by Mira Tweti. It is an eye-opening and often heart breaking account of what happens to parrots when people decide to keep them as pets. The book has sections on parrot intelligence, parrots as pets, the breeding and selling industries, bird smuggling and bird sanctuaries and conservation. Cooper thinks it is a must-read for everyone – especially those thinking of owning a parrot.