Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Calvin Can't Fly by J. Berne & K. Bendis

Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie by Jennifer Berne
Illustrated by Keith Bendis
Copyright 2010
Sterling Kids - Children's (Ages 4-8)
32 pages

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!


©2010 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Bookfoolery and Babble, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Calvin sounds adorable and Isabel looks gorgeous.

  2. Kathy,

    It's a really cute book. I just love it. I feel terribly lucky to get to review children's books! And, thank you! Izzy is a pretty little thing. She got shots, today, and then I stepped on her foot so I think she's taking a rest break, poor thing. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better!

  3. I like to read kids books aloud, too. I read a few at my inlaw's which reminds me! I need to add them to 'books read' to up my count for the year.
    Yes, do volunteer to read! Check with the school admin to get in touch with the elementary school reading teachers, maybe?
    You could also read aloud to seniors.
    This also reminds me that I need to get Oscar certified as a reading partner... Lots to do today.

  4. Care,

    Ah, I feel better knowing I'm not the only person who likes to read children's books aloud for the joy of it. Oscar's going to be your reading partner? How fun!

  5. It looks so cute, and I think it's hilarious that your cat didn't want to listen to you. I guess that's just normal cat behavior though.

  6. Alyce,

    It's a really cute book. I love the illustrations.

    Yes, just normal cat behavior. Fiona's full-grown, now, but she's still a kitten at heart and she has a lot of things to do. Our dearly-departed Miss Spooky was excellent to read to because she was a sedate old kitty, so it's a bit of a switch having younger ones in the house!

  7. Oh my gosh, need to find it at the library! :) That and I found another one entitled Spork on Amazon.com that sounded cute too. :)


  8. Krista,

    You'll love it. And, so will the boys. ;)


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