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

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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  64 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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Kayce
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...
Peacegal
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.
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
Kellee
Reviewed at: http://www.teachmentortexts.com/2012/...

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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
Terri
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
Angela
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...more
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.
Shirley
In the 1970s, a graduate student named Irene Pepperberg walked into a pet store to purchase an African grey bird, who was about 1 year old. She brought him back to her lab and called hime Alex--short for Avian Learning Experiment. Irene wanted to study the intelligence of birds and believed that birds like Alex were capable of learning concepts. This book chronicles their 30 year relationship, and shows how not only how intelligent Alex was, but also how emotionally complex he was as well. This...more
Courtney Angelo
This was a fun book! It attacks a subject younger children may not know much about; heck, I don't know much about the intelligence of animals and I'm an adult! The illustrations pulled this book together; children can read this book and really hear the parrot learning with them. It's an amazing thing to learn about because we are so used to humans being the ones we can talk to and learn with. This book shows that there is another world out there with our animals! I would like to use this book in...more
Gwen Kaplan
Intriguing account of a biologist and her study of an African Grey parrot. Over the course of three decades, Alex the parrot learns enough words to communicate basic concepts (more words than chimpanzees, and spoken clearly). He also understands sophisticated concepts such as zero or nothingness, and demonstrates a fun personality. The book tells the story clearly, explaining the significance of this scientific research to children. One can't help wondering what other types of communication migh...more
Nancy
“The bigger the brain, the smarter the creature.” At least that’s what scientists thought before they met an African Grey parrot who would change their thinking. Alex, short for Avian Learning Experiment, was raised by Irene Pepperberg. She bought Alex when he was just a year old. She believed that she could teach the bird to talk and perform mathematics. No one paid too much attention to this since most scientists believed that birds were not very smart. But Alex sure proved them wrong. Read ab...more
Holly
I really enjoyed reading about graduate student Irene Pepperberg and her African grey parrot, Alex. She bought him in 1977 in order to study him in a time when most scientists thought birds were not at all intelligent. Alex and Irene set out to prove them wrong. I laughed out loud at Alex's personality. It's a fascinating and intriguing story. I think kids will be greatly interested. Now I want to read Irene's own book, Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Ani...more
Cheryl
In 1977, Irene Pepperberg bought a one year old African grey parrot. She named him Alex and began to work with him to test his abilities. Alex proved to be remarkably intelligent! He could count, add, subtract, recognize shapes and colors, and express his feelings. Pepperberg's book, Alex and Me, which documented her experiences working with her beloved friend was a bestseller. Alex the Parrot was adapted for young readers. It's a great true story and will help children to understand and learn a...more
Caitlin Day
Alex the parrot is so smart and children will enjoy reading about him. Alex was doubted and said to not be smart because the theory was that the bigger the brain the smarter the animal. It's a great educational book and it's making learning fun, but it's also relaying the message that it doesn't matter how big or small you are, you are incredible the way you are. The pictures in this book are so pretty too. It's definitely a great read and I would highly recommend reading this book to anyone jus...more
Krista
This was a book that I was surprised I loved so much. This story is about Irene Pepperberg who had an African grey parrot named Alex. Through Alex, she proved the intelligence of these parrots. I had never heard of either Irene or Alex before reading this book. I love books like this where authors show the importance of lesser known people, and in this case, animals. I know this will be a much loved story by students. I believe this will also inspire some students to find clips of Alex on YouTub...more
The Styling Librarian
Alex the Parrot - No Ordinary Bird- A True Story by Stephanie Spinner, illustrated by Meilo So - 3rd grade and up- I grew up knowing about Alex the parrot so was quite excited to learn that there would be a picture book released with the story of how he was selected, raised, grew in both intelligence and personality and captured the hearts and minds of many people who doubted the intelligence of a parrot. Brilliant character, wonderful book.
Christiane
Picture book version of the story of Alex, an African grey parrot who became famous for his intelligence. Alex was taught how to add and subtract, recognize shapes, sizes, and colors, and speak and understand hundreds of words. There is a lot of text on each page, so this is probably more suited to 1st – 3rd graders, though the brightly colored illustrations would make this a great read-aloud for patient (or interested) younger kids.
Tammy Siegel
Quick Battle of the Books read. Now I want an African grey parrot!
Shelli
This was a very interesting and entertaining non-fiction book about possibly the world’s smartest bird of all time, Alex the African Grey Parrot. A little too lengthy for a primary teachers or librarians to read with their classes during story time (maybe older kids in the classroom though would be fine). This book has lots of information, humor and heart. Kids will love Alex and want to learn more via the web and videos.
Margaret Towery
Choose this book for a lower reader who needs a meaty and engaging story of inspiration. Alex the Grey Parrot and his trainer Irene Pepperberg set a new bar for communication between humans and animals. Clearly Alex did more than "parrot" the English language--he demonstrated thought and wit in his communications. The book is well written and well illustrated.
Sandy Brehl
Biography may not seem an appropriate label for a parrot, but Alex deserves it.ALEX stands for Avian Learning Experiment. It's easy to feel sentimental about Alex (if you've never seen him in action, check YouTube). He deserves respect for the intelligent parrot he was, not as a human-wannabe, and this book delivcers that respect, including the back matter.
Mary
The story of one of the first African grey parrot that is taught to communicate with humans. Alex tested at about the intelligence of a 5-year-old.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yGOgs...

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video...

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow...
Tracy
I was thrilled to read this kids' version of the story of Alex, an African Grey parrot with the intelligence of a five-year-old child. Alex understood the concept of "zero"-- something not even chimps can do--and made up his own words, such as "banerry," a combination of "banana" and "cherry" to describe an apple. Amazing!
Tori
I liked this book a lot, and again it was another true story. I think children will enjoy reading books like this because they know it really happened. I also loved the pictures they were colorful and fun to look at. This is an all around good book and I really enjoyed reading about the funny talking parrot.
emily
I really quite enjoyed this little biography of Alex - I'd known about him before, but really enjoyed the illustrations and format the story took. In one of my undergraduate classes, we watched a series of videos about Alex (interacting with Alan Alda of all people) and his is really an incredible story.
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8238
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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