Thursday, November 06, 2008

Product Review - Alex and Me, A Book by Irene Pepperberg

The book Alex and Me is about Irene Pepperberg and her African Grey parrot Alex. Irene decided to take the work that was done with apes and apply it to parrots. She worked with Alex for over 30 years and together they busted through doors by scientifically proving that parrots can not only repeat consistant phrases but can think for themselves.

He possessed more than 100 vocal labels for different objects, actions, colors and could identify certain objects by their particular material. He could count object sets up to the total number six and was working on seven and eight. Alex exhibited math skills that were considered advanced in animal intelligence, developing his own “zero-like” concept in addition to being able to infer the connection between written numerals, objects sets, and the vocalization of the number. Alex was learning to read the sounds of various letters and had a concept of phonemes, the sounds that make up words.
While the book is a scientific documentation of Dr. Pepperberg's work, it is also about a deep relationship. This book reads as an interesting novel and is a loving tribute to her friend "Alex." I cried throughout the last chapter. Knowing that Alex's last words to her were "be good, I love you."

It will be a long time before I don't hear Alex's sweet little voice saying "I want to go back" when he wanted everyone to know he was done working. Cute!

For more information go to The Alex Foundation where Dr. Pepperberg continues to work on with parrots.

For an excerpt of the book, head over to ABC News where you can also see a video of Irene working with Alex.

Read this amazing book and fall in love with Alex as I have. Head over to Harper Collins to order one for yourself now.

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