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The Simple Art of Flying

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Quirky characters, plucky humor, and a heartwarming message come together in this big-hearted debut novel about friendship and the true meaning of family.

Sometimes flying means keeping your feet on the ground…

Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He’d like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with hi
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Aladdin
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4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  45 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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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
Nicole Hewitt
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Resch Reads
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it

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
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
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*
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Rajani LaRocca
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Karen McKenna
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
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
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
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!
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Ms. Yingling
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Alastair and his sister Agatha hatch at Pete's pet shop and have a rocky upbringing. Luckily, they have a fledging doctor, 11-year-old Fritz, who works in the pet shop and gives them more attention than Pete, who just wants to get his money's worth out of them. There are guinea pigs and other animals who have quite an active social life in the pet store, and occasionally some of them get out with 80-year-old Bertie Plopky, who has events for seniors to mingle with pets.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing

@kidlitexchange #partner - Thanks to #kidlitexchange and @simonkids (with assistance from rising star @coryleonardo ) for the Advance Reader’s Copy of THE SIMPLE ART OF FLYING. All opinions are my own.

Alastair the African grey parrot has known since he was hatched that he is meant to fly through bright blue skies and live in a palm tree. Too bad he and his twin sister Aggie are born under a heat lamp in the vile Pete’s Pet Shack. Before he grows feathers, Alastair is plotting an escape for h
Gail Shepherd
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't stop squawking and screeching with laughter over every page of Cory Leonardo's witty, smart, hysterically funny middle grade debut. The setting: a pet store (mostly). The cast of characters: Alastair, an irascible, broke-winged parrot with a complicated and not particularly practical plan to fly free; his sweet and docile sister Aggie; Bertie, an old lady mourning her deceased husband; Fritz, an obsessive kid whose fascinations include warts and shingles; and a menagerie of guinea pig ...more
Sofiya Pasternack
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: novel19s
What I Liked
The cuteness of this book will knock you over. Seriously! I grew up with parrots (macaws when I was really little, then conures and finally a very grouchy lovebird named Zeke) and Alastair is a PERFECT African Grey. And by that I mean I feel like if I walked past him, he'd give me side-eye and then throw a peanut shell at the back of my head. But I never knew any African Greys who were such good poets as Alastair. I never asked them, though. Maybe that's why they threw peanut shells.
Kirsti Call
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THE SIMPLE ART OF FLYING by Corey Leonardo is breathtakingly beautiful in every way. The stunning cover, lyrical writing, and 3 points of view makes this a phenomenal debut novel. Since the story is told through poetry, prose, letters and a medical log, each character is distinct, complex and relatable.

I love Alistair, the African Grey Parrot whose intellect and determination to escape to be with his sister drive almost all of his actions. He writes the most beautiful poetry. One of his poems is
Katie Reilley
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sweet MG novel told from three perspectives about the true meaning of family & friendship.

Alastair is an African gray parrot who dreams of escaping with his sister Aggie from their pet store life to the land of blue skies & palm trees. Fritz is the 12 year old kid working at the pet store and has plans of becoming a medical doctor. Albertina Plopky is the elderly woman who frequents the pet store, looking for animals to borrow to connect with her senior group.

The three perspectives e
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three African parrot eggs are about to hatch. Two survive and they are named Alastair and Aggie. In this book we see the world through the cranky worldview of Alastair whose ultimate dream is to fly to Key West and live there with his sister. Twelve-year-old Fritz helps take care of the parrots at the pet store and saves up all his extra money to buy Aggie. Alastair is devastated and believes his live is over when Bertie Plopky adopts him. Fritz lends his part of the narrative by taking stock of ...more
Joshua Levy
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This incredible middle grade book has everything: Humor? Check. Heart? Absolutely. Animal escape capers? Yes! Each character's voice--from wide-eyed Fritz (a kid!), to sweet old Bertie (a retiree!), to world-weary Alastair (a parrot!)--shines through on every page, both because of how unique each character is, and because of the author's extraordinary talent.

THE SIMPLE ART OF FLYING has chapters in prose, in verse, AND in epistolary/letter-form, emphasizing those unique voices and assuring that
Naomi Milliner
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Feel free to judge this book by its cover, because the inside is every bit as exquisite. I'm not sure it's possible to love a book more. Cory Campbell Leonardo has written a story brimming with heart, humor, hope and wisdom. This incredible debut MG novel about two African Grey parrots will have you laughing and crying even as it fills you with its universal themes, dreams, and humanity. Told in several points of view, including a precocious 12-year-old wannabe vet, a curmudgeonly parrot, and a ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I am not sure why but this one didn't come together into a compelling whole for me. I was intrigued by the premise and the various elements - all things I would normally love. But they didn't gel into a book I felt deeply engaged in.

It could have been an off day or two for me as a reader but I ended up having to push myself to finish. Lots of promising elements but I didn't connect with any of them as much as I wanted. I'll be interested to see how our book club kids respond to it.

I couldn't lo
Chris Baron
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The SIMPLE ART OF FLYING is an all heart, Middle Grade, human/animal caper, that captures the imagination! I love this grumpy parrot! But I also love all the quirky, unique characters. This book is so original, and what I liked best is how multi-layered the text is--the characters have such distinct personalities and voices, and the forms of the book work so well together from poetry-to-prose to letters, that I am certain that kids will be really engaged with the book from start to finish!
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First of all- how beautiful is this cover? Secondly, I just loved this book. The humor was perfectly balanced with heart. The poetry scattered throughout added to the richness of the story. And I just really loved cheering for grumpy old Alastair. A must read for all fans of The One and Only Ivan.
Jeanne Ferruolo
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE SIMPLE ART OF FLYING is a colorful adventure about an African grey parrot (Alistair), 11-year-old Fritz and the red boa-clad Albertina Plopsy. The story is uniquely told in the voice of each authentic and delightful character. I truly loved this story and would recommend it to kids of all ages. It would make a perfect classroom read-aloud!
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweet book from a bird's perspective.
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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.