"Calvin is a starling. He was born under the eaves of an old barn with his three brothers, four sisters, and sixty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty-two cousins. Starlings have big families."
So starts Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie, a children's picture book by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Keith Bendis.
Calvin looks much like any other starling, which is pretty cute in this picture book, and you would expect him to be like his three brothers, four sisters, and sixty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty-two cousins, but he does not keep up with his flying lessons. Instead, he is in the hollow-in-the-tree library with a variety of little animals reading books. The "nerdie birdy" especially likes stories about pirates and dinosaurs, and he includes a good bit of nonfiction into his reading list. What he learns about weather becomes particularly important later in his own story.
Calvin Can't Fly is a bright colorful book. I like the details, especially the finely drawn insects about which the little birds dream and the cows with the bright red lips. I also like how the author and illustrator deal with the issue of individuality. We are all a bit like Calvin in some way, and that is good. We will all develop some unique talents that help our friends - or in this case, cousins.
Don't let your age keep you from reading Calvin Can't Fly. Read it to a child or grandchild if you can.
Berne, Jennifer and Keith Bendis. Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie. Sterling, 2010. ISBN 9781402773235.