This children’s book is based on Linda Bird’s own life with her pet parrot, Charlie Bird. In the main storyline, Charlie, as depicted in the text and small pictures is a bird that constantly is on the move in their home and frequently gets into trouble. The parrot, which has had his wings clipped, plays games such as hiding under the covers, ripping out chunks of the toilet paper, and engaging in sniffing contests with two young girls, Sarah and Molly among other activities. Sarah and Molly are ages nine and seven and think he is “The Best Bird Ever.”
Along with being simply the best bird ever, he is approximately four years old and is part of a secondary storyline that seems to be at least partly fantasy. In that storyline, while the children are off at school, Charlie, who has several wild birds as visiting friends, manages to change places with one of them so that he can experience freedom. Both he and the wild bird known as “Rusty” learn that trading places wasn’t worth it and before long manage to switch places again finding peace in their own respective worlds.
While overall entertaining this is a book that may be confusing for the intended audience. Beyond the amateurishness of the cut and paste picture technique and the odd decision to represent the children Sarah and Molly through dolls, the twin storylines are at odds and work on different learning levels. While one is reality based (despite the dolls issue) and teaches understanding and how a pet interacts with his family the other is fantasy based and is used to tell a far different tale than the main storyline. For some readers, this could create an obstacle as they won’t be able to separate fantasy from reality and could be confused by the way the book unfolds.
As with any book purchase, it is always wise to take the intended reader into account. If the above is not an issue for the intended reader, than despite the picture technique, this could be a charming book that serves to spark reader interest and discussion regarding owning birds. Recently self published through Outskirts Press, the author intends to release other tales involving children and their pets.
Charlie Bird: The Best Bird Ever
Kevin R. Tipple Â© 2008