nonfiction nuggets…one clever bird

alex the parrot no ordinary bird cover imageAlex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird, by Stephanie Spinner, illustrated by Meilo So

More than 35 years ago, a young scientist named Irene Pepperberg walked into a pet store and bought a bird — an African grey parrot, whom she named Alex.

Irene had great plans for Alex: she would teach him as much alex the parrot2as she possibly could, and in turn she would learn from him about the far reaches of animal intelligence.

Irene and Alex formed an amazing scientific partnership, working together for more than 30 years! In extensive studies, Alex proved himself to be a highly intelligent bird, who could count, tease, and

answer a phenomenal variety of questions accurately. He combined known words to communicate new ideas.

Alex even became a TV star, showing off his smarts, dance moves, and silliness for millions of viewers.

Stephanie Spinner has written an excellent, engaging account of Alex

Irene Pepperberg and Alex the Parrot

Irene Pepperberg and Alex the Parrot

and the woman who discovered him. Conversations with Alex, games and puzzles he played, bossy banter and his ticklishness, all reveal the colorful personality of this parrot. As well, we learn surprising things about animal intelligence, a bit about the work of others in this field, and meet the new kid (or, parrot) on the block — Griffin.

alex the parrot illustration meilo soMeilo So’s effusively-bright illustrations, in color ink, watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils, blast us with tropical color, and zing with the energy of new discoveries.  Her gorgeous grey parrot displays a heap of personality in his face and postures, and you’ve got to love the psychedelic 70s textiles that crop up here and there! I love every page! Plus — if you read the illustrator blurb on the jacket, you’ll also learn something quite curious about Chinese teahouses!

I first met Alex in a fascinating documentary and was tickled pink to discover this book . Great read for children ages 5 and up.

Here’s the Amazon link:Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird: A True Story