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  • Writer's pictureSofiya Pasternack

Review: The Simple Art of Flying

Title: The Simple Art of Flying (AKA Call Me Alastair)

Genre: contemporary

Series: none

Release: February 12th, 2019


Sometimes flying means keeping your feet on the ground…

Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He’d like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by twelve-year-old Fritz, and Alastair is adopted by elderly dance-enthusiast and pie-baker Albertina Plopky, the future looks ready to crash-land.

In-between anxiously plucking his feathers, eating a few books, and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way to a family reunion. But soon he’s forced to choose between the life he’s always dreamed of and admitting the truth: that sometimes, the bravest adventure is in letting go.

What I Liked

The cuteness of this book will knock you over. Seriously! I grew up with parrots (macaws when I was really little, then conures and finally a very grouchy lovebird named Zeke) and Alastair is a PERFECT African Grey. And by that I mean I feel like if I walked past him, he'd give me side-eye and then throw a peanut shell at the back of my head. But I never knew any African Greys who were such good poets as Alastair. I never asked them, though. Maybe that's why they threw peanut shells...

What I Would Have Liked to See

You know, I can't think of anything missing from this book. It was perfect for what it was trying to achieve. Maybe a disclaimer on one end that African Greys are difficult little buttheads and hard to take care of, and you should under no circumstances go buy one because you think it's going to be a good pet (it might be a good pet, but it will also make you go deaf and bite every finger to hamburger, so like... choices).

My Favorite!

Alastair's poetry was so wonderful! My favorite was "ULTRAVIOLET" where he's talking about how parrots see color versus how humans see color. The language in the poem is breathtaking, gorgeous, just incredible. I want to frame it and put it somewhere but I don't know what kind of context I could display it in. WHATEVER! Read it. Be swept away.


Grouchy parrot aims for escape his entire life, but poetry and cherries change his mind. Perfect for all ages!!



meet sofiya!

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories.

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