Calvin CanŐt Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie

Written by Jennifer Berne; Illustrated by Keith Bendis


In this wonderful picture book, Calvin is a bird focused on his love of reading at the neglect of his learning to fly.  When his flock flies south, they haul him along, so as not to leave him behind.  When a hurricane strikes, Calvin comes to the rescue, all due to his passion for books.


Biographical Sketches:

Jennifer Berne has spent twenty-five years working as an advertising copywriter and

writer of award winning TV commercials.  She also wrote a former Chickadee nominee, Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau. She loves spending time with her favorite books. She is from New York City but spends summers cruising the Maine coast with her artist husband on a boat they designed themselves. She is currently a contributing writer to Nick Jr. magazine.


Keith Bendis is a cartoonist and illustrator whose work has appeared in many magazines and newspapers. He also illustrated The Illustrated Casey at the Bat with introduction by Roger Kahn.  He lives on an old farm in Columbia County, New York, where he often watches starlings over his house.


Suggested Activities:

1. Take a trip to your local library. Get a library card.  Check out a book.

2. Share a book aloud with a friend, a younger child or a parent or teacher.

3. Make thumbprint birdies.

4. Draw a picture of your favorite part of the story.

5. CalvinŐs flock is forced to take shelter from a natural disaster.  What other kind of natural disasters are there? 

6. Play the Natural Disaster simulation game online.

7. Take a hike in the woods to learn the backyard birds found in your area.

8. Make your own bird book identifying the birds in your backyard.

9. Build your own bird house or bird feeder.

10. Calvin is a European Starling.  Do some research on European Starlings.

11. Locate Europe on a map, color a map of everywhere that you can find starlings.

12. Make a mobile of your own flock of starlings.

13. Calvin learned to fly in the storyÉmake a flying Calvin craft.

14. Make a list of other birds that fly south for the winter.  Do you know any other creatures that go south for the winter?


Bird Companion Books:

Bateman, Robert. BatemanŐs Backyard Birds, BarronŐs Educational Series, 2005

Post, Hans. Sparrows, Lemniscaat USA; Translated, Illustrated edition, 2008.

Root, Phyllis. Flip, Flap, Fly, Candlewick Press, 2009

Ryder, Joanne. Wild Birds, Harper Collins, 2003

Wellington, Monica. RikiŐs Birdhouse, Dutton ChildrenŐs Books, 2009


Reading Companion Books:

Henkes, Kevin. Birds, Greenwillow Books, 2009.

Bertram, Debbie. The Best Place to Read, Random House, 2003

Bottner, Barbara. Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I donŐt), Alfred A. Knopf, 2010

Knudsen, Michelle. Library Lion, Candlewick Press, 2006

Yates, Louise. Dog Loves Books, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010


Migration Companion Books:

Ball, Jacqueline. Migrating Animals of the Air, Weekly Reader, 2008

Durand, Stephane. Winged Migration: Junior edition, Chronicle Books 2004

Keller, Holly. Farfallina & Marcel, Greenwillow Books, 2002

Madison, Alan. Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly,Schwartz & Wade Books,2007


Books written by Jennifer Berne:

Berne, Jennifer. Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau, Chronicle Books, 2008


Books Illustrated by Keith Bendis:

Thayer, Ernest. The Illustrated Casey at the Bat: The Immortal Baseball Ballad. Workman Publishing, 1987


Websites: This is the authorŐs website and shares information about her and her books. This is the illustratorŐs website and has information about his other work.   This is a great local site that shares activities, trip information, bird sightings, etc. This site tells about the European Starling. You can even listen to an audio of what they sound like. This website shares the history of hurricanes in the state of Maine. This site also shares information about hurricanes in Maine. This is a great site about birds found in Maine.  There are sightings, pictures, information about backyard birds, tips on attracting and feeding birds. This site has all sorts of craft ideas for kids on birds of all kinds.   This is a great site tracking the migration monarch butterflies.  You can become a member and help track the butterflies. This is a neat site, put out by The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, would be great for the older kids to help them simulate all the different natural disasters in a tech savvy format.  Kids love to play games.  This is our state library website and helps to promote and support all our libraries in the state of Maine.


Calvin Crafts Created by Amy Hand:  

Fingerprint Calvin

Calvin Mobile

Calvin Magnet