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Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird: A True Story
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Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird: A True Story

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  289 ratings  ·  91 reviews
In 1977, graduate student Irene Pepperberg walked into a pet store and bought a year-old African grey parrot. Because she was going to study him, she decided to call him Alex--short for Avian Learning EXperiment. At that time, most scientists thought that the bigger the brain, the smarter the creature; they studied great apes and dolphins. African greys, with their walnut- ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Cried as I read this one... At work... This is a great description of the scientific process, as well as the story of an amazing animal, and a special friendship. Alex was more than just his name: Avian Learning EXperiment. He was a friend; an intelligent being.

My personal experience with pets and animals in general places me in the school of thought shared by the scientists mentioned in this book. I loved it! Love the message...
Mar 23, 2015 Rena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: juvi
I had many parakeets when I grew up and Alex makes me want one again. Birds are amazing creatures with as much attitude as cats. Geez, I'm going to have to go to the pet store!
Alexandria Stephens
Alex the Parrot is the story of a bird who revolutionized the way scientists think about brain size. The Avian Learning Experiment was based on the fact that scientist believed the bigger the brain, the smarter the creature. Alex was an African parrot and had the brain size comparable to a walnut. Although his brain was small, the bird was extraordinarily intelligent. This book can be used in literacy to teach recounting a story. Students can read this book either independently or aloud and eith ...more
Brienz Wilkening
This was a very informative book about a woman named Irene and her parrot ALEX (Avian Learning EXperiment). The story takes you through there growth together and Alex's learning abilities as a parrot. I knew before reading this book that parrots could learn many words but this parrot far outweighed anything that I thought was possible for a parrot to do. The illustrations are very simple and there are quite a few words on each page but in about 40 pages you learn the entire story of Alex and Ire ...more
Susan Brown
Jun 26, 2015 Susan Brown added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Twin Text: Zeno and Alya by Jane Kelley (Copyright 2013)

Stephanie Spinner tells the story of Alex, an African grey parrot. Chosen for a research project, Alex was studied to determine how much parrots could learn and understand language. His remarkable ability helped change the world’s view of animal intellect. With the exception of a brief flashback, the book is written in chronological sequence. It begins with Alex as a one-year-old and ends with his death at 31. The author uses descriptive te
Amy Rae
After reading Koko's Kitten yesterday, I was pretty hesitant about this one--I really didn't want it to be full of the same issues. From a bit of outside research, it doesn't look like it is, which I'm happy about.

Anyway, the art for this book is colourful and vividly gets across the life of Alex the African grey parrot. The text is rather long, which makes it a little harder to imagine a reader for the book. Most of the kids who come to my bookshop, by the time they'd be able to read this on th
Kam-Yung Soh
A nicely written children's book about the life of Alex the Parrot, one of the most famous parrots in science who helped to show that some birds can be pretty intelligent.

Starting with his life after being bought from a pet store, the book goes on to show his life as an experimental subject, being shown objects and what they are, gradually building up single word vocabularies. Eventually, Alex learns enough to form multiple word sentences and even to make up his own sentences. More importantly,
Spinner, S. (2012). Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

Additional Information: Primary (K-3)

Summary: When Irene Pepperberg bought Alex the parrot for research in 1977, she had no idea that he would surpass expectations and learn more than 100 words. This book details this true story in five sections and alternates between the research science, the relationship between pet and owner, and Alex's strength to beat the odds.

Notable Awards/Reviews: Booklist 10/01/12 (Vo
This is a wonderful, colorful book that will introduce youngsters to Alex, an African gray parrot who helped change everything we know about bird intelligence and animal cognition. Thanks to Alex, we no longer are unaware that feathered friends aren't "bird brains." His relationship to the people around him is also touching and a fine example of interspecies friendship.
Meaghan Grady
Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird By: Stephanie Spinner 2012
Meaghan G., Spring 2015
*NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for 2015*

This was a very informative as well as a fun read! I really enjoyed reading Alex the Parrot. This story is about a bird that changed the way of science and research. Alex is an African Parrot and he gets purchased by a graduate student named Irene. Irene called the parrot Alex because she was going to research him and the research being conducted stood for Avian Learn
Although we cannot communicate directly with most animals I have always felt that they understood more than we give them credit for; I even feel this extends to plants, especially trees. If we took the time and made the effort we could have a much better relationship with our fellow sojourners here on planet earth. But we as a species are rather arrogant and close-minded when it comes to accepting the intelligence of other creatures. At least most of us are, and that probably counts doubly for t ...more
BLUESTEM NOMINEE 2015-2016. Science - Animals - Intelligence - Training
True story of Alex the parrot raised from the age of 1 by Irene Pepperberg. Bought to study his intelligence she called him Alex, short for Avian Learning EXperiment. With his walnut-sized brain he was thought to not be very intelligent, though gray parrots are very vocal. The story is about her training and is quite good. Team this book that tells a lot about scientific principles with a video online of Alex. There are many.
Joanne Zienty
Alex the Parrot may have a brain the size of a walnut, but that doesn't stop him from learning to understand and speak hundreds of words. This true story showcases this fabulous African grey parrot, who is charming and churlish by turns. Especially funny was a section describing his reaction to the "new parrot on the block" who is brought in by the scientist studying animal intelligence. The jealousy that Alex exhibits toward Griffin-- and its manifestations (at one point, he hastily spits out t ...more
Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird, written by Stephanie Spinner and illustrated by Meilo So, is 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 an
Reviewed at:

Through my fascination with apes, I have learned quite a bit about language acquisition, intelligence and apes. This nonfiction picture book takes a look at these topics from a whole different direction- parrots. Growing up my father always wanted a parrot and specifically an African Grey because of its intelligence. This was my extent of knowledge of these animals until picking up this book and I will say that I am now so intrigued by African
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: ALEX THE PARROT: NO ORDINARY BIRD by Stephanie Spinner and Meilo So, ill., Knopf, October 2012, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-375-86846-7

“A-well-a bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word
A-well-a don't you know about the bird?
Well, everybody knows that the bird is the word!
A-well-a bird, bird, b-bird's the word”
--The Trashmen (1963)

Alex was a bird who knew words. In 1977, grad student Irene Pepperberg purcha
Destinee Sutton
I remember when Alex and Me came out in 2008. The story of the smartest bird in the world was bound to be rewritten for children and I think Stephanie Spinner has done a good job of it, especially for a 2nd to 5th grade audience and reluctant readers. With lots of colorful illustrations and a short, clear narrative, this story has major appeal for animal lovers and kids who only want TRUE stories. It might be interesting to compare this to The One and Only Ivan in terms of how animal intelligenc ...more
Jen Traub
I'm learning to enjoy literary nonfiction more! This is the story of Alex, the first parrot that proved they could be as intelligent as other animals, such as the chimp or dolphin. It recounts his time with Irene, the scientist who studied him, through his death.
I enjoyed the personality it gave Alex; he is shown with his own thoughts and feelings, as well as intelligence. His relationship with Irene was fascinating. The illustrations built our understanding.
Danielle Butler
Alex is an African grey parrot which is unique because he is a scientific project. Alex was studied around the time that many scientist were studying other animals and trying to get the animals to communicate with humans. Birds were not thought of being intelligent because they have smaller brains than most animals. Alex proves the other scientists wrong by not only using words to describe objects, but showing an actual understanding of language and concept of ideas such as adding and subtractin ...more
Hannah Jefferson
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this book or how much I recommend it for kids of any age, whether read aloud to a younger child or independently by an older one. It tells a story of something all kids love - talking animals - and the best part is that it all REALLY happened! Kids will laugh at Alex's silly antics, marvel at his intelligence and maybe even shed a tear or two at his untimely passing. I know I did. The illustrations are watercolor and colored pencil, simple but very vivid and ...more
This is a really interesting book that looks at experimental processes scientists use to learn new things about animal behaviors. It was neat to hear about Alex and how feisty he became! I did find myself wishing that there were a few real photographs somewhere in the book - the illustrations are nice, but not quite the same as photos. The text is pretty sophisticated... probably more on a 3rd grade level.
This is a well-written and skillfully illustrated true story of a parrot named Alex. Alex lived inn a lab run by a scientist named Irene who was trying to demonstrate that animals can understand language, communicate, and generally interact with a higher level of intelligence than previously thought. It's a great story that blends animal appeal, humor, history, and science.
Jennifer Kayla
An Illinois Bluestem 2016 nominee - liked the literary tones to this informative true story. Kids will learn a lot from this picture book (as did I!) about an African gray parrot, the longitudinal study that was done on him about how smaller species' ability to learn and communicate, and his relationship between him and Irene Pepperberg, psychologist.
Ms. Ramsborg
Alex the Parrot
Lexile: 680

I liked this book because it is a true story about a parrot and his trainer. The parrot is an African gray parrot, who was named Alex by his trainer, Irene. The parrot’s name (Alex) stood for Avian Learning Experiment because Irene wanted to prove that birds are highly intelligent at a time that most people thought birds were dumb because they have small brains. I liked learning more about parrots, but the best part was reading about the relationship between Alex and Ir
Loved this book. I may be biased because I have pet parrots. I've heard about Alex the Parrot, watching videos online, and I've seen another book at the bookstore. But, this is wonderful for children. Great illustrations. The writing was clear and beautiful.
This book had just the right amount of information to teach me something new, while keeping it simple enough that I didn't get bored. I honestly had never even heard of this book and the book sparked enough interest for me to spend at least an hour searching the Internet for more information and videos. So cool.
As an undergraduate I was fortunate to work for a short time with Dr. Roger Fouts and chimpanzees Lucy and Washoe at the Primate Center at the University of Oklahoma before they moved to Washington state. I found the research in animal language and communication fascinating and was especially interested in how the chimps combined the ASL signs they knew to create names for new things in their environment. As I read about Irene and her research with Alex I was reminded of those days. It's incredi ...more
Michele Knott
Great narrative nonfiction story that shows the scientific process and a fascinating story about how the grey parrot can learn and communicate.
Irene Pepperberg's book Alex and Me, an adult memoir on the same subjects, is perfectly reconstructed for young readers and beautifully illustrated by Meilo So in this must-have narrative non-fiction picture book.

I've never been a person fascinated by birds (don't tell my mother-in-law and nephew---one of which will likely read this review), but Pepperberg's story elevates our understanding of animal intelligence such that even folks like me are intrigued.

A much needed addition to non-fiction p
Anna Rose
A cute and creative retelling of Alex, the bird who helped scientists realize the intelligence of animals and their ability to learn words.
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I was born in Davenport, Iowa, and grew up in Rockaway Beach, New York. I read straight through my childhood, with breaks for food, sleep, and the bathroom. I went to college in Bennington, Vermont, moved to New York City, and took a job in publishing so I could get paid for reading. I read so much bad fiction that I needed a break, so I moved to London, and from there I traveled to Morocco, Iran, ...more
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