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Birdbrain Amos Hardcover – March 4, 2002

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 5
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel; First Impression edition (March 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399236147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399236143
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An insect-ridden hippopotamus thinks his prayers are answered when a tick bird responds to his ad for a bug remover in this humorous romp for readers just graduating to full-length fiction. "I don't do teeth," winged Kumba warns Amos, the hippo, but that's the smallest problem with this alliance. Kumba builds a nest on the fellow's head and lays eggs there, making him the laughing stock of the jungle. Amos doesn't have the heart to evict the interlopers, though, and a hilarious situation comedy ensues. The plot clips right along, and what makes this story so laugh-out-loud funny is Delaney's (Deep Doo Doo) fully developed, quirky cast. Their interplay reflects the traits attributed to the species. For instance, a vulture who responds to Amos's ad gets right to the point: "I haven't actually removed bugs from animals.... But I have removed flesh from animal bones." And an ill-motivated python speaks with the unctuousness of a TV commercial voiceover: "Good news, my friend.... I have a guaranteed method that gets rid of tick birds fast." Literal-minded Kumba misinterprets everything Amos says (many of their exchanges resemble "Who's on First?"), and the wishy-washy hero must navigate between compassion and the pressure to conform. Delaney's pen-and-ink illustrations, generously sprinkled throughout, reflect the same strong characterization found in the text. Ages 7-10.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grades 2-4--Amos, a hippopotamus, advertises for a bird to get the bugs off his back, but forgets to mention that it has to be a tick bird. After interviews with several inappropriate candidates, including a vulture, he hires just the right one. Then, in Amelia Bedelia fashion, the hippo has trouble communicating with his new employee. When he tells Kumba, "make yourself at home," she takes him literally and builds a nest on his head-and soon lays three eggs. Amos is then concerned that he will become the laughingstock of the river. The silliness escalates with the arrival of her friends, her "husband," and the hatched babies. When a python offers a guaranteed method to rid the hippo of his guests, Amos innocently accepts. However, though still embarrassed about having a bird living on his head, he has developed a fondness for Kumba and her family. In the end, he fights off the snake and saves one of the babies. He learns to accept the tick bird's lifestyle and accomplishes his original objective, to host a bird that gets rid of annoying bugs. The anthropomorphic characters, large typeface, and play on words make this a choice for younger children, although they may not understand some of the humor. For example, the thrush promises songs by Stravinsky, Sinatra, and others. Reluctant readers may be attracted to the cartoon illustrations and comical plot. A story that deserves a place in libraries looking for more humorous fiction.
Linda L. Plevak, Saint Mary's Hall, San Antonio, TX
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There's a nebulous age children reach where they still want to read fun animal stories, but they're no longer comfortable with picture or "easy" books. They want chapters and they want them now. Normally, I'd steer such staunch advocates of our animal brethren to "Charlotte's Web" or pretty much anything by Dick King-Smith. But for a few, for a very few indeed, I might draw out Michael Delaney's little trumpeted but sweet, "Birdbrain Amos". As far as I can determine it never won much in the way of awards and the only reason that I ever discovered it myself was that I polled a listserv of children's librarians for their favorite unappreciated children's books. It was one of the many listed. There is nothing flashy about "Birdbrain Amos". Nothing that necessarily sets it apart from any other books and nothing about it that remains particularly memorable. It does, however, fill a hard to reach age range and has enough lovely pen-and-ink drawings to give even the most reluctant of readers something to enjoy.

Amos is a very average hippo. He has always been the kind of fellow you'd nod to in the mornings but never pay all that much attention to. That all changes when it has occurs to Amos that he is covered in bugs. After placing an ad for a bug-eating-bird (he has the local baboons yell it from the treetops) he meets and immediately hires Kumba. Kumba's nice enough, but she and Amos tend to have some communication problems. For example, Kumba never gets her employer's jokes and when Amos tells the little bird to make herself at home, she takes him far too literally. Soon Amos is sporting a jaunty (and entirely unwanted) bird's nest on his forehead with three eggs.
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Format: Hardcover
This funny little story featuring animal characters is targeted toward a pre-tween audience, that is children who are no longer preschoolers and not yet tweens (8-12).

This humorous treasure was one I discovered by accident - someone who knows I am a Beatles' fan mentioned it because an avian character sings "She Loves You." Naturally that sparked my interest and I admit I loved the part with "She Loves You" and many pre-tweens will get a Beatle lesson from this book. If you read this book to children, you might encourage a Beatle sing a long wherein you teach Beatle songs and make music part of the story. That will appeal to more ages.

Amos is an indistinct hippo who fades into the scenery. Once he discovers he is covered with insects, he places an ad for an insectivorous bird to clean him up. The baboons holler out Amos' ad until Kumba, the Beatle Fan Bird responds.

Maybe this is reading too much into this cute little story, but Kumba shows some autistic features, in that she takes everything literally; jokes go right over her head; she does not understand personal space and builds her nest on -- you guessed it, AMOS!

There are some funny parts, such as the bird baby shower which Amos unwittingly hosts; Kumba's mate Akka, who is the Average Joe you have a beer and a chat with and the interaction between hippo and birds.

Thanks to Kumba and her weirdly named daughters, Amos learns just how to be a real friend and accept differences, bug covered and all. Not only that, he learns to appreciate the Beatles, yeah, yeah, yeah!
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By Flalamingo on March 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is so exiting! Amos is trying to hire a tick bird... but he unfourtunately got one that doesn't understand jokes! So he has to walk around with a nest on his head because of a misunderstanding of Kumba, his tick bird. What will he do? All of the other hippos will laugh at him! So what will he do?
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