Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie
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Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  313 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Calvin is one unusual starling! While his siblings and cousins learn to fly, this rare bird lets his imagination soar while reading about pirates, dinosaurs, and other fascinating things. The other birds call him “geeky beaky,” but Calvin just ruffles his feathers and buries his beak in a book. Yet, when it comes time to migrate, poor Calvin suddenly realizes he can't fly!...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Sterling
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Sarah BT
OK, I'm a sucker for any book featuring a character who is as much of a bookworm as I am. And Calvin sure is a bookworm (although as a bird, being called a worm is not a good thing!)

This one is a cute story about reading and the advantages of reading because Calvin gets a chance to show off his book smarts. But it also is a bit jumbled in the story. It was almost like the author wasn't quite sure what kind of book to write. Should it be a book about promoting the value of reading? Or a book abo...more
Teddie Trombley
Calvin is a starling and ever since he was born he was always a little different from everyone in his family. As all of his brother and sisters started discovering different objects around but Calvin wasn’t really… all he was discovering were books. While all of Calvin’s cousins were learning how to search for bugs and insects Calvin was learning how to read letters, sentences, and words. While everyone was sleeping they would dream of insects and garbage picking but Calvin would dream of advent...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
Calvin Can't Fly by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Keith Bendis is a cute story about a young starling who chooses to read rather than learn to fly.

Calvin buries his head in books and his mind soars while his brothers, sisters and cousins learn to fly and eat insects. When Fall comes, the rest of the flock heads south, along with Calvin, whose brothers and sisters tow him along, wrapped in ribbons. Calvin realizes the flock is headed into a hurricane and diverts them into a cave, where they watc...more
Darshana Khiani (Flowering Minds)
A perfect book for story time, and a must have for any book lover young or old. I adore this book on so many levels. How do I love thee, let me count the ways:

I love that Calvin is a bookworm.
I love that being called a “bookworm” is a bad thing for birds, because it has the word worm in it.
I love Calvin’s silly siblings who help him out when it is time to fly away.
I love that Calvin saves the day with his book knowledge.
I love the book for its comical illustrations.
I love Ms. Bearne’s mastery of...more
Linda
Calvin is a starling who'd rather read than fly. The commentary on starling families (3 brothers, 4 sisters, 67,432 cousins) is painfully accurate! (haha!) And it's not often that a picture book provides a delightful literary quote, "Oh, how the wounding words of scorn do sting," was read by Calvin as he was teased for being a "nerdy birdie" and worse, "a bookworm."
Half Hollow Hills Library Children's Department
Calvin is one unusual starling! While his siblings and cousins learn to fly, this rare bird lets his imagination soar while reading about pirates, dinosaurs and other fascinating things. The other birds call him "geeky beaky," but Calvin suddenly realizes he can't fly! His sisters, brothers and cousins carry him into the air. But on their way south, the winds blow hard, the trees bend, and the air starts to smell strange. It's a hurricane, and only Calvin can save the day - because he has read a...more
Lyla
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
carissa
Calvin is one unusual starling! While his siblings and cousins learn to fly, this rare bird lets his imagination soar while reading about pirates, dinosaurs, and other fascinating things. The other birds call him “geeky beaky,” but Calvin just ruffles his feathers and buries his beak in a book. Yet, when it comes time to migrate, poor Calvin suddenly realizes he can't fly! His sisters, brothers, and cousins carry him into the air.
But on their way south, the winds blow hard, the trees bend, and...more
Green Bean
Calvin's cousins called him "nerdie birdie," "geeky beeky," and "bookworm." And when you're a bird, being called a "worm" is a very bad thing. Calvin spends all his time in the library and forgets his flying lessons. While his brothers and sisters take flight, Calvin takes flights of fancy! When his family heads south for the winter they are obliged to tie Calvin up in a bunch of ribbons and tug him along. It's not until Calvin's smarts save the starlings from a horrible weather system that the...more
Randie
Calvin is a starling. He has several siblings and thousands of cousin starlings. His family are typical starlings, they eat insects and learn to fly. Calvin is not a typical starling, he loves to read and learn. Calvin's family label him a bookworm, which is incredibly insulting because a WORM is the worse name you can call a bird. But when bad weather strikes, Calvin's might be the only way to save the day.

I absolutely LOVED this story and the illustrations were a perfect fit. Great book to rea...more
Angie
Liked Calvin. Liked the illustrations. Liked the little joke about birds calling you a "bookworm" being an especially bad thing. Liked how they tried to help him when he didn't know how to fly south.


I don't mean to be picky. But that did not look like a hurricane to me. I am no scientist but it looked like a tornado. Aren't hurricanes closer to a coast? I did not see any signs they were near a coast. Of course there were a lot of distractions going on around me when I read this but ... three ins...more
The Library Lady
Okay, the plot is pretty much as you'd expect--the kid starling who is different saves the whole flock in the end.But the prose is witty yet still pitch perfect for kids. The art is wonderful--love the blobby starlings with their emphatically skinny legs--and the whole package works well together.

And yes, you could use this for:"Reading is FUN! And useful! And someday the kids who call you a nerd will see how right you are" or "Being different is okay" or other such stuff, if you insisted. But I...more
Peacegal

Calvin is a starling that book lovers will relate to. While “the crowd” is hunting bugs and engaging in other bird activities, Calvin instead is challenging his mind with books of every kind. However, Calvin has spent so much time reading during the spring and summer that he is unsure how to migrate when winter arrives! Luckily, his friends step in to help Calvin fly and Calvin uses his knowledge to assist his friends on the flight.

It was also refreshing to see a disparaged species (the starlin...more
J.F.
A librarian friend of mine just handed me a copy of Calvin Can't Fly by Jennifer Berne. This is a great story about having a passion for learning.

As we start out our lives, we all discover something that sparks our interest. For a little black starling named Calvin- that something is books. Calvin reads so much- he never learns to fly. When it is time to migrate south will Calvin perish, or will his book knowledge come in handy?

...Find out as your 2nd through 4th grader reads this story to you...more
Danielle
Calvin is a starling; he has to learn to fly so he can go south for the winter but he would rather spend his time reading. He never learns to fly and he almost gets left behind but starlings have very large families so his siblings tow him along on the journey south. When a hurricane threatens the flock, will Calvin's book learning be able to save them all? This book is just slightly too long for preschool storytime but it is very cute and could possibly be shortened a little.
Amanda
A nerdie birdie bookworm spends all his time reading and not learning how to fly. When migration time comes, his family has to sccop him up and carry him with strings down south. Forunately for the rest of the murmuration, Calvin read a book about hurricanes, can see an approaching storm, and diverts everyone to a cave. Calvin gets so excited he used his book knowledge that he flutters and takes off.

Galiceaortiz
Calvin is a starling who is very different from his family. Different from them, he is not into learning how to fly and playing outside, he likes to read. This book is great to inspire students to respect their uniqueness, and to persue their personal interests. Calvin's character ends up being a great inspiration for children of all ages. Highly recommended...
Tricia
Easy-to-read and fun story about a bird who never learns to fly because he is too busy reading, reading, reading. When the flock gets into a troublesome situation during their migration, his ability to recall facts helps save the day. I liked this book on so many levels---it is one of those that reads nicely to children but adults will also enjoy.
Connie Klever
Adorable story about Calvin, a bird who is a bookworm! The story would work well for older preschoolers up to teenagers. Stresses the importance and fun of reading as well as the importance of learning how to do other things in life(like flying!) in a very fun way! Great book for "back to school" or "how to use the library" programs.
Skye Robinson
PB 3: This book reminded me of Mrs. Lisa Patrick only because the bird, Calvin, just loves to read and it makes him truly happy. This book teaches a great lesson of not teasing someone because they like other things. In the end it makes the world a more diverse place and makes room for new friendships. Loved this book!
Deanna
Calvin the Starling is made fun of by his family because he is different. Calvin isn't interested in flying or garbage... Calvin likes BOOKS! In a predictable twist, because of his "odd" habit, Calvin saves the day and becomes the hero. A cute story, but it was the illustrations which won me over.
Nicole
Very cute. Calvin, a starling, discovers books while all of the other starlings discover what birds normally would. While at first Calvin is left out because of his "odd" preference, the other birds include him in the end (and he, or course, helps to save the day with his book learning!). :)
Claire Freeman
This is a story of a bird who does not follow what every other bird is doing. While his family is out flying and catching worms he is in the library reading! This book teaches students to follow what they love and they will still be accepted by their friends and family.
Magila
A very nice message about belonging and appreciating one another for their differences. Nice artwork, and a good story. There was an actual story arch as well, as opposed to the book just running through the paces - as you will find in some children's books.

Recommended.
Melanie
Calvin the starling isn't interested in flying. He's more concerned with what he can learn from books. He's teased by his brothers and sisters. But everyone appreciates Calvin's book smarts when he explains that they need to get out of the way of an oncoming hurricane.
Janet
Calvin, the starling, is according to his bird cousins a nerdy bird--he loves to read and go to the library. But fall arrives and will Calvin fly, and perhaps his skill of reading can help all his cousins. Interesting and fun messages about reading. Enjoyable.
Robin
It's always great for me to discover a new children's book that highlights how helpful reading can be in a variety of situations. Calvin the starling who loves reading but can't quite fly when everyone is heading south winds up helping his family in an interesting way.
babyhippoface
Calvin the crow would much rather hang out in the library than learn to fly, which turns out to be a big problem. This book started out pretty funny and kind of lost steam in the end, so I didn't love it, but I did get a kick out of it, especially the first few pages.
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