December 4, 2014
Calvin Can’t Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Keith Bendis
Calvin Can’t Fly:
The Story of a Bookworm Birdie
by Jennifer Berne
illustrated by Keith Bendis
When the little starlings begin to explore the world, some of them find bugs, some of them find grass, and Calvin finds books.
While his brothers and sisters and cousins are learning to fly, Calvin is going to he library. While they practice flapping, he is reading adventures and legends and poetry. They fly and hover while his mind soars.
Because Calvin is different, some of the less kind startlings tease him. They call him names like “nerdy birdie and “bookworm.”
When the time comes to migrate and Calvin still doesn’t know how to fly, I half way expected them to leave him. I thought this would become a story about catching up. But they don’t and it doestn’t. Instead, they catch him up in bits of string and they fly with Calvin in tow, dangling beneath the flock.
Obviously, this can’t go on for ever and soon the flock comes upon something they’ve never seen before. The clouds are big and black. The wind blows hard and the air just isn’t quite right. Suddenly Calvin remembers his favorite book about weather. He warns the others that they are flying into a hurricane.
Thus Calvin’s weakness becomes the flock’s salvation.
In the end, Calvin does learn to fly but for me the high point was when the other birds recognize how important all that book learning really is. Of course, I’m a writer who loves books so this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
If you have a book loving child, pick this one up. Any child who is a “word nerd” or scholar of some kind will get a kick out of Calvin’s devotion to learning.