Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird

Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird, written by Stephanie Spinner and illustrated by Meilo So, was a nominee for the 14-15 South Carolina Children’s Book Award.

Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird is a true story of an extraordinary animal. This book tells the tale of Irene Pepperberg and her work with Alex, a truly phenomenal African grey parrot.

Irene believed that birds could learn language and communicate with the world around them, and she set out to prove just that. She patiently taught words and their meanings to Alex, and the clever parrot quickly showed everyone just how smart he was. He learned to sort by color, shape, and size, he could count up to six, he let everyone know what he wanted to eat, and he even played pranks on those around him. To top it all off, Alex made sure people knew that he was the boss!

In a time when most people believed that only larger animals, particularly apes, could be taught to communicate with humans, Alex proved everyone wrong. He and Irene showed the world that birds were intelligent creatures that often had quite a bit to say! Alex helped others learn more about birds, especially African grey parrots, and that has changed how these animals are viewed even today.

Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird is an excellent book for anyone interested in how animals communicate. I think this book will be an excellent addition to animal studies, and I even hope to use it as a read-aloud with my youngest students. When paired with actual videos of Alex (and other birds), I think this book could be a tremendous teaching tool on animal intelligence.

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