Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Guest Review - Alex and Me by Irene M. Pepperberg, as reviewed by Joylyn

Our readers were busy over Labor Day weekend, and we came back to find several guest reviews in our inbox. If you would like to submit one of your own, simply e-mail it to Since much of our audience is under 18, we will only be printing first names of reviewers.


Take a one-pound African Gray parrot named Alex and a devoted scientific researcher named Dr. Pepperberg, give them thirty years together exploring animal intelligence and ability to communicate, and you have a fascinating new look at the abilities of the animal kingdom. Dr. Pepperberg attempted to maintain a scientific approach throughout their association, but found, when Alex the parrot died prematurely at the age of 31, that she had an immense emotional attachment to him, which was almost overwhelming.

Alex had advanced to the point where he was able to pick out colors, objects and numbers from large assortments, identify numbers by their Arabic notation, and had amazed those working with him with his obvious awareness on many areas. He also had a definite personality – when he got bored with too much repetition, he would give an incorrect answer on purpose. At one point, he named every object on the display with the single exception of the answer they were expecting! Another time, when the demonstration was being rushed due to time constraints, the usual reward of a nut was put off with an explanation to wait until later. After three displays without a reward, Alex finally completely lost his patience. He looked at Dr. Pepperberg in exasperation and said, loudly and clearly: “I wanna nut – enn-uh-tuh!”

This book is informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining.


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