Calvin Can't Fly

The Story of a Bookworm Birdie
32p. 978-1-40277-323-5.
PreS-K—While Calvin's siblings learn things birds need to know, the young starling has his beak buried in books. He reads adventure stories, legends, and poetry while his brothers and sisters chase bugs and learn to fly. Calvin is happiest in the library. "His books took him to places wings never could. And his heart fluttered with excitement." When autumn arrives, all the starlings prepare to go south—except Calvin. The flock takes off without him, but his brothers and sisters come to his aid. They tie strings around his waist and take off, towing Calvin along with them. He is excited as he sees the things he's read about, but soon he senses that they are heading into a hurricane. The starlings don't know what a hurricane is but heed his warning and take refuge in a cave. They are safe as the storm roars by. During the celebration that follows, Calvin hops and flaps in jubilation and realizes that he does know how to fly. The gouache illustrations show the starlings looking square and rather penguinlike. The pictures are pleasant but not interesting enough to carry the slight story. While a book that touts the pleasure and usefulness of reading is usually welcome, this one falls short.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Calvin the starling is too busy reading to learn to fly, so his relatives figure out a way to carry him along when they migrate. Because he has read so much, Calvin recognizes a hurricane approaching and (predictably) manages to save the whole flock. The book delivers its worthy, if obvious, message with playful language and jaunty gouache illustrations.

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