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Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie Paperback – May 5, 2015
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As a young starling, unlike his cousins and siblings who “chased beetles, bugs, and ants,” Calvin “buried his beak in books.” Too busy reading, Calvin never learns to fly. When it comes time to fly South for the winter, Calvin’s siblings and cousins carry him by “tying up Calvin’s middle with string and scraps of cloth they had found in the garbage,” which makes for some humorous and sweet illustrations. But, when the group is about to fly into a hurricane, Calvin’s book knowledge saves the day.
A book lover myself, of course I appreciate the fact that Calvin Can’t Fly is about a book lover who couldn’t help but do what he loved. I also love that he gets called “nerdy birdie” and is “somewhat embarrassed” when his starling relatives begin to carry him South. Being true to oneself is not all rainbows and flowers (and books), and these two details capture that. I think it is wonderful that Calvin’s relatives do the right thing – tow him South – before he saves the day. Children (and many adults!) need to know that when faced with someone different, limited and/or annoying, doing the right thing is always the right choice.
We live in a different-strokes-for-different-folks kind of world. We always have, and we always will. The sooner we provide our children with models of divergence and respect for those who are different from them, the more likely they are to thrive socially and embrace what is different about themselves.
Calvin will inspire both the jocks and the nerds to be kind, to march (or fly – can’t help myself) to the beat of their own drum, and – just maybe – to go read some books.
As good as the author's intentions are, trying to encourage reading, the moral of the story appears to be "As long as what you're doing is a good deed you can do whatever you want even if it goes against what you were told to do."