Illustrated by Keith Bendis
Sterling Kids - Children's (Ages 4-8)
As the other little starlings were learning to swoop and
hover and fly figure eights, Calvin buried his beak in books.
And there his mind soared.
Calvin the starling isn't interested in the normal starling things like learning to fly; but, he loves to read books. He is teased and called names, but that doesn't stop Calvin from going to the library or dreaming about legends, poetry and becoming a great writer (while his brothers and sisters are dreaming about delicious bugs). When the time comes to migrate, though, Calvin is in dire straits. He has no idea how to fly and sadly watches his huge starling family leave without him.
But, then his brothers and sisters and cousins return with string and scraps of cloth. They carry Calvin . . . until the family comes upon a hurricane. Of course, Calvin is the only bird who knows about hurricanes -- because he has read about them. He saves the day by advising everyone to take shelter and the whole starling family celebrates their safety after the storm has passed. Calvin is so excited that he jumps and flaps and flaps his wings until his relatives tell him that he is, in fact, flying.
And, that's pretty much the end. I absolutely loved Calvin Can't Fly, except for one little thing. I did think that ending was a little abrupt, when I read the book aloud to the cat. Incidentally, Fiona is not a good listener. She walked in and out of the room and I ended up reading to nobody until my husband showed up with a silly grin on his face. He's used to me, but he knows weird when he sees it.
Apart from that ending, I think Calvin Can't Fly is so wonderful that I would consider it for gift-giving purposes. It's not just about a bird who is different from the rest (aka, your average "fish out of water" children's book); it's about the joy of reading. And, the illustrations are marvelous -- colorful, perky, bright, joyful illustrations. I'm a big advocate of reading children books that encourage a love of reading as early as possible; and, picture books that suck little ones in with an upbeat story about reading's benefits combined with great illustrations? Perfect.
Highly recommended. This one's going on my keeper shelf. I'm not yearning for grandkids (I am way the heck to young to think too hard about that) but hopefully someday I'll have a little one to share this with. If not . . . I may need to volunteer to read at schools. What do you think? Should I do that, anyway? It seems like a decent idea. My thanks to Sterling Kids for this unexpected bit of reading joy.
Many books have walked into my house, this week (which means I need to get to work escorting a few more out the door).
From Paperback Swap:
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Frederica by Georgette Heyer
The Line by Teri Hall
From Hyperion, via Shelf Awareness:
Kasey to the Rescue by Ellen Rogers
From Algonquin Books (all surprises):
The Puzzle King by Betsy Carter
A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein
Missing Lucile by Suzanne Berne
Your Tuesday dose of kitty joy . . . Isabel: The Glamour Shot
And, that leads to a reminder that I need to go wash the kitty bowls.
Happy, happy, joy, joy to all!
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