Monday, December 31, 2012

Alex The Parrot by Stephanie Spinner

I wish I could have met this parrot.  He understood words, could communicate with you, and he had an attitude.  He would have been fascinating to watch in action!

Knopf Books sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

He was an African grey parrot and she named him Alex, short for Avian Learning Experiment.  When she began training him, it was thought birds couldn't learn much based on the size of their brains.  That obviously wasn't true.  Alex not only learned words but what the words associated with.  He could also connect colors or shapes to words.  That's pretty wondrous for a brain the size of a walnut.

Washoe is mentioned in this story, too.  She was a chimpanzee that Central Washington University worked with on sign language.  I actually got to meet her when I was taking a clerk's certification course at the college.  I don't remember her, but I remember the male chimp.  He got mad at the trainer for being ordered around and gave him the finger when his back was turned.  Yep, that one had learned sign language alright!

Animals are a lot smarter than you might think.  My cat likes to play Fetch.  When the ball gets lost, she just stands in one spot and reasons out where it must have gone.  She's always right too.  I wouldn't want to be her prey.

Happy reading.    

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