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Call Me Alastair
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Call Me Alastair

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  74 reviews
A funny, heart-shattering novel about a fierce parrot,
a big-hearted boy and a spirited elderly widow, all learning to
live fully-fledged lives.

Born in the back of a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrotdreams
of escape, to fly off with his beloved sister, Aggie.
But when Aggie is purchased by 12-year-old Fritz, and Alastair
is adopted by Mrs Albertina Plopky, Alastair's
Published February 7th 2019 by Scholastic UK
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Showing 1-30
4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  146 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
DNF @ page 101

This was a DNF for me, as I personally couldn't connect to the writing style. However, I can definitely see lots of younger readers reading and enjoying the adventures of Alastair and Aggie, the brother and sister parrots. Also, the cover is very pretty!
Sam (she_who_reads_)
A fantastic debut middle grade about love, family, loss, and discovery- this is a beautiful story revolving around a grumpy, suspicious African grey parrot named Alastair. I fell in love with him and sister Aggie from the start! The premise and execution of the story was so unique and engaging- I flew through this one. It deals with some pretty heavy topics, particularly grief, and I think it was handled with delicacy and in a way that isn’t too overwhelming or complex for younger readers to cop ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A grumpy African grey parrot who plucks his feathers. A twelve-year-old boy who longs to become a doctor and who has recently lost both his grandfather and his father. An elderly woman who loves to dance and bake pies and who writes letters to her dead husband.

Are there any three characters in fiction less likely than these to appear together in a children's story? Are there any three characters less likely to develop a relationship with each other? Are there any three characters less likely to
Theresa Grissom
Thanks to Edelweiss Plus for an ARC of this book!

I really, really loved this one. Every single character, whether human or animal is so lovable each with a distinct personality. I found myself laughing, smiling and slightly tearing up during this book. Very cleverly written to be enjoyed by people of all ages. I can see both kids and adults liking this one. It's going to be hard to wait for the hardcopy because I want to talk this one up so badly. This one went on my favorites shelf.
Nicole Hewitt
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This is the story of a grumpy parrot who wants nothing more than to escape captivity with his sister and bring her out into the wild world where he's sure they'll both be better off. Alastair is endearing, even though he's a cantankerous curmudgeon--mostly because his heart is in the right place. He's spent his whole life trying to protect his sister, and you can't help but empathize with him, even when you think he's
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of my favorite middle grade books of all time. Cory Leonardo has an incredible gift with prose and poetry; I read this several times before it got its book deal, and without fail, I cried each time. Incredibly uplifting, soul-swelling, transformative.
Resch Reads

Three words to describe this book, quirky, whimsical, and playful. What an awesome debut novel with a refreshing and unique narrative. The story is told from several view points, mainly Alastair (the parrot), letters Bertie is writing to here deceased husband, and Fritz's medical journal. Now it took me a bit to get used to seeing things from a parrots perspective but once I got into the story, it flew by (pun intended)!

Alastair goes a crazy journey over the course of the book. From end
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the description of The Simple Art of Flying it said perfect for fans of The One and Only Ivan! Hmmm, I wasnt sure I believed it, since that was an amazing story, but it’s true. This is an adorable tale of family, friendship, gratitude and growing up.
Alastair and Aggie are sibling parrots born in a pet store. Alastair is always thinking up plans for their escape, since he’s always looking toward a bigger and better life. Aggie just seems to go along with whatever her brother says is best.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw this book at The Strand, I knew I couldn't pass it up. First off, there are parrots on the cover, and second off, doesn't it just sound so sweet? But even though I may have been drawn in by the sweetness, there's still a lot of grit in The Simple Art of Flying. At the heart of this book is the relationship between Alastair and his sister Aggie and this relationship is full of a lot of tough topics like the fact that they're not regularly fed in the pet store. So while it's Alastair's ...more
Jessica *The Lovely Books*
The Simple Art of Flying has got to be the cutest and funniest books I’ve read in a very long time. That’s not an exaggeration either—the main characters are birds who are just so misunderstood. Especially Alastair. He deeply cares for his sister, Aggie. She’s sweet and grounds her grumpy brother.

Then there’s Fritz and Bertie who I equally loved. Both really brought the story to life. Fritz is the twelve year old boy that ends up buying Aggie. While Bertie is the one who gets Alastair. All our
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This charming middle grade story, told in three voices, is overflowing with fun and quirky characters. We first meet Alastair, an African Grey Parrot, as he is fights to break out of his shell. His strength and determination are apparent from his very first moment of life. His ultimate goal in life is to escape the pet shop, find freedom for his sister and himself and to live in Key West. Next, almost 12 year old Fritz shares his story. We learn he will fiercely fight to care for, and to protect ...more
You know how sometimes you read a book that taps in to your own personal struggles so deeply, it's like the author had a window into your soul? This is one of those.

Two years ago, Amanda Rawson Hill and I had the immense privilege of mentoring Cory Leonardo during our first stint as #PitchWars mentors. Cory's poetry-laced book about a curmudgeonly African Grey named Alastair who is so fixated on his own vision of what happiness looks like that he can't see the wonderful life that has fallen into
Rajani LaRocca
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this book. It is a beautifully written, lyrical, poignant book that offers the best of middle grade: humor and heart. I fell in love with cranky Alastair, sweet Aggie, nerdy Fritz, and irrepressible Bertie. This book is about pursuing your dreams, and knowing when to let them go because what you've always wanted is what you already have. Read it for the story, and prepare to be floored by the poetry. Can't wait until my hardcover copy arrives!
Amanda Rawson Hill
This is one of the cleverest, most beautiful books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I used to think it was a mix of THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN and FLORA AND ULYSSES. But I've changed my mind. It's THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN meets BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE and THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE. I love it so much. Fouryh time reading it, still cried.
Amanda Rawson Hill
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly Kate DiCamillo meets Katherine Applegate. It has amazing voice, lovable characters, beautiful poetry, and will make you laugh, then cry, then laugh again. DON'T. MISS. IT.
Melinda Brasher
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was sad, happy, charming, and gently funny. A beautiful book with a bittersweet ending.

It reminds me a lot of The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate—another fantastic book. But my reactions are a little different. My only (small) issue with the One and Only Ivan is that it's a little hard to believe in parts. Ivan seems to know or understand things he would have no way of knowing, given what we know about how he learns, and I question why he can speak to the other animal species so e
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I admit first GLANCE I was in love...I mean really, how can you not be? That cover is absolutely stunning! Between the books, the color scheme, and the magical nature of the art, I was enamored. Thing is at first read, I wasn't quite sold. It's only now, weeks after I've finished the book and am revisiting my experience to put it into words for all of you, that I can fully appreciate the journey our young feathered friend (and others) truly takes us on.

When it all began, I couldn't quite
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: birds, cats, children, fiction
I own African Grey Parrots, and they are almost never found on merchandise and are rarely found in books. It's always the colorful macaws (even though Greys are smarter, ha!). So of course I had to read The Simple Art of Flying.

I enjoyed reading it, although my enjoyment was tempered by all the non-Grey-like behavior. (For example, one parrot comforting another by putting her wing around him. Not gonna happen. They might huddle together, or clack beaks, but it is not physically possible for a pa
Lucas Reviews
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owlcrate-jr
The book starts out with two African greys named Alastair and Aggie who have spent their whole life in Pete's Pet (and parrot) Store. There Alastair and Aggie have dreams of escaping the pet store to have their own life in the outside. Then 12-year-old Fritz who works as stocking shelves there finds an interest in the 2 African greys, when he realizes that they cost $1,200 he works at Pete's and mows lawns to try and save up and by one of the parrots. While he is saving up for the parrots he doe ...more
Molly Jaber (Cover To Cover Cafe)
First, can we just take a minute to talk about this cover? It’s absolutely adorable! I love the birds, and the books, and the colors. That alone would pull me into the book. Second, can I just tell you that I wish we had books like this when I was a kid! Don’t get me wrong, Beverly Cleary, Ramona Quimby, The Baby Sitters Club, and a few others were awesome. But, books like TSAOF would have been happily devoured then, too!

I absolutely adored Alastair. I’m not a fan of birds, but it they were all
Karen McKenna
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think I would fall in love with a parrot. I am definitely not a bird person. So imagine my surprise when I fell hard for disgruntled, poetry-writing Alastair. I could not put his story down. Told mostly from the unreliable narrator point of view of the parrot, there are also letters from a Mrs. Albertina Plopky to her deceased husband and medical logs from part-time pet store assistant Fritz mixed in. Altogether, the characters are quirky and multi-dimensional. Alastair's voice rings tr ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middlegrade
It's been a while since I read from the point of view of a pet... nonetheless a bird. I really enjoyed the switching around from Alastair's perspective (a grey parrot), Bertie's letters and Fritz's medical journal. I really enjoyed this book, the want for freedom but finding a happy medium. You kind of expect a happy ending in middle grade fiction, and we get a ending that I found acceptable. I just feel really bad for pets at pet stores now...
Sarah Nelson
This book was cute and really funny. It has some really good humor in it that I think is thrown in for parents. It was a bit slow for me, but like I said, it was cute.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a lovely story!
Didn’t finish. Just didn’t hold my attention!
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to the Kid Lit Exchange for the review copy. All opinions are my own.

This sweet middle grade book is about a pair of African Grey parrot siblings who get sold to two different homes and are searching for their way back to one another--and ultimately, to freedom. Told in three different voices, the story offers MG readers unique perspectives: part personified animal, part grieving adult, part 12-year-old boy.

For lovers of animals and lovable misfits.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Simple Art of Flying, a debut novel by Cory Leonardo, is brilliant, clever, and unputdownable! The story has multiple points of view, with the dueling perspectives of Alastair the African grey parrot and 11 year old Fritz Feldman, who writes his part of the story in his Official Medical Logbook. Each is a somewhat unreliable narrator in their own way, so they balance each other well. Interspersed are hilarious letters written by elderly Bertie Plopky, which draw her story closer to Fritz and ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, kids
So very much to love about this touching, hilarious book especially the viewpoint of perpetually cranky parrot-poet Alastair. Charming and delightful, hilarious and heartwarming, this book is going to find many many fans. Highly recommended!
Thank you @kidlitexchange @coryleonardo and @simonkids for a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This MG book releases 2.12.19!

Oh my goodness, this is such a sweet, captivating story. It’s told from three very different perspectives. There’s Fritz, who is a young teen. He’s obsessed with the medical field and dreams about becoming a doctor one day. He is also a huge animal lover and works at the local pet store. This is where he meets and cares for Alastair and his sister Aggie. T
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This beautiful book is poetically written and covers loss, love and letting go. Told through the narrative of a poetic parrot, a lonely old lady and a boy who dreams of being a Doctor. Who knew I could care so much about this small group of characters, but this book took me through tears and laughter in the two days it took me to enjoy its pages.

It’s not often you get to read a book from the perspective of an animal. This was no Animal Farm (thankfully), but we do see a series of different anima
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Cory Leonardo grew up believing she’d replace Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, but when that didn’t pan out, she decided she’d turn letters and phrases in a different way (but minus the glittery dresses, sadly). A born and bred upstate New Yorker, she currently lives in the Syracuse area with her husband and three plucky children.