Calvin Can't Fly really is the perfect book for any little bookworm. Calvin is a starling. One with three brothers, four sisters and sixty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty-two cousins. What sets Calvin apart though is that fact that he's not interested in learning to fly like the rest of them are. Instead he spends all his time in the library with his nose beak inside a book.
In exactly the same way as any book loving child does, he discovers a world that contains so much more than just flying and catching insects. The other starlings don't understand Calvin though and the name calling and bullying starts. The thing is, being called a bookworm is really quite an insult when you're a bird.
When it's time for the starlings to migrate south Calvin's inability to fly causes a few problems. How can he head south if he doesn't know how to fly? His brothers, sisters and cousins have a plan though and they come back to get him. He's then carried along thanks to some pieces of string that they've found. When bad weather hits them Calvin is the only one who knows what to do. He's read the books about hurricanes and what the warning signs are and explains this to everyone else. Luckily this time they listen to what he has to say and the whole family is saved thanks to what Calvin has learnt from books.
I just loved the message in the book in terms of showing children that education is no bad thing at all. Even when I was at school children who would rather curl up with a book than run around would be teased, and hopefully Calvin Can't Fly will prevent this happening to some children today.
The other thing that really appealed to me was Calvin visiting the library to get his books and that fact that it is depicted as a happy place for him to go and read. With budget cuts many libraries here in the UK are under threat and I think it's important to encourage children to use them as much as possible. Whilst reading the book Little Miss C really picked up on the library and actually got a bit upset when it wasn't in more of the pictures.
Overall I think this is a lovely book and one that I think all children should be encouraged to read. The value of books and learning from them is an important message and one that I think it gets over really well. It's beautifully illustrated the pictures include lots of detail and objects for younger children to pick out too.
Calvin Can't Fly – Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Keith Bendis
Published by Sterling, February 2012
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Calvin Can't Fly by GMC Publications for this review.