Call Me Alastair (2019), Cory Leonardo
Themes: Childrens, poetry, animals
Reading Format: Paperback
Thank you to Scholastic for kindly sending me an advance reader copy of this book.
Call Me Alastair by Cory Leonardo – 4 Star book review
This beautiful book is poetically written and covers loss, love and letting go. Told through the narrative of a poetic parrot, a lonely old lady and a boy who dreams of being a Doctor. Who knew I could care so much about this small group of characters, but this book took me through tears and laughter in the two days it took me to enjoy its pages.
It’s not often you get to read a book from the perspective of an animal. This was no Animal Farm (thankfully), but we do see a series of different animals living in the pet shop. I loved seeing the dynamics of how this worked, it was very cleverly written. I think setting this in a bookshop is a really unique idea, as I child I would have loved this… in fact, I do as an adult!
Alastair is our main character, he is a parrot and at the start of his very simple life, he is living with his sister Aggie. The tragedy of this story is that we know that this pair have to be separated and I can’t bare how this is going to make Alastair feel. The blurb has set us up for heartbreak, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Alastair is such a sweet little bird, his nods to depression are vital to educate young people that it is okay to feel sad and there will always be people who care.
He is perfectly personified through his narration of the story. His love of poetry (and cherries) adds a different take to animals in books that I can’t say I’ve ever come across before. I love the mix of how we see the different narratives telling the story; Fritz (the young boy) wants to be a Doctor one day, we see his perspective through his medical log. He’s a funny little boy who has a clear passion for caring for people and animals. He is innocent and young, he is our reader, wanting the best for these parrots.
Bertie breaks my heart, she writes letters to her husband, this is how we get her perspective. She is lonely, desperately trying to find friends in both people and pets. I want to be her friend, or to attend one of her social activities to show her that people do care! She seeks friendship in Alastair, an example of how we can never guess who we will get on with the best, no matter our interests.
This book was a beautiful journey that made me laugh and cry. I would highly advise picking it up on release date.