A Tale for the Birds
By Stephanie Spinner
Knopf, $17.99, 48 pages
Alex the Parrot is about an African Grey parrot who became the participant in a scientific experiment called the Avian Learning Experiment. Over the years, Alex’s intelligence was tested in various ways to help determine the level of intelligence of African Grey parrots and their “walnut brains”. This book, by author Stephanie Spinner, is Alex’s story. It starts from the time when Alex was purchased until his death several years ago and details both his learning capabilities and personality and character traits. The book nicely shows how researchers discovered Alex’s intelligence and talent for learning. The book is quite wordy for a children’s book and drags at times, particularly when details of the experiments or history of animal intelligence research is reviewed. Overall the book is just okay – Alex’s personality definitely comes through but the rest of the story and the illustrations fall a bit flat. This book is definitely not one for younger children both due to the wordiness and the eventual death of the parrot.
Reviewed by Barbara Cothern
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