The Simple Art of Flying
384p. S. & S./Aladdin. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534420991.
Gr 4–8—Alastair and his sister Aggie—both African grey parrots—start their lives in Pete's Pet (and Parrot!) Shack, where Alastair is grumpy and ready to escape and Aggie is innocent, gentle, and loving. Twelve-year-old human Fritz, an aspiring doctor, works at the pet shop a few days a week and takes the pair under his wing to bring them both to good health, all while developing a strong relationship with Aggie. Earning money little by little, Fritz finally has enough to take Aggie home for good, leaving Alastair wondering where his sister went. And then along comes eccentric 80-year-old Albertina Plopky—Bertie for short—who believes that Alastair is the solution to her loneliness. With no idea about Aggie's whereabouts, his growing fondness of Bertie, and a bum wing—not to mention all of his feather-plucking!—his attempts at escape keep getting thwarted. Leonardo's debut novel is told in three voices and combines storytelling with free verse poetry and letters. Reminiscent of The One and Only Ivan's storytelling, Leonardo has crafted a tale that will have readers rooting for each character.
VERDICT A witty animal-centered story that will remind readers that families come in many shapes and sizes.

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