4 out of 4 stars
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Ruminations on a Parrot Named Cosmo by Betty Jean Craige is a collection of essays from a newspaper column called “Cosmo Talks” carried by the Athens Banner-Herald from December 2011 through November 2013. This book is not only a collection of cute stories about a very smart bird, it is also a serious linguistic and behavioral study of Cosmo, an African Grey Parrot. Ms. Craige presents observational evidence that Cosmo actually understands what she is saying. Cosmo chooses specific words to fit different situations and seems to understand the meaning behind the words she uses.
This book raises questions about whether animals have feelings, expectations, desires, fears, and dreams. Can an animal have a sense of humor or a sense of right and wrong? It raises awareness of issues such as pharmaceutical pollution, toxic household products, legislation to protect various species, as well as, the lucrative black markets for parrots.
My favorite thing about the book is that I learned so much about a bird’s anatomy, their digestive system, their reproductive system, how sounds and songs are formed in their throat and the structure of their feet. There are interesting stories about animal behaviors and learning, adaptation, and intelligence. The book includes information about ecological issues – the different types of environmentalism, maintaining ecological balance, and climate change. It is a fascinating scientific study disguised by endearing anecdotes of an adorable pet bird. I am now more aware of my mixed-species family and how our lives are connected.
I loved the occasional photo of Cosmo, especially the one of her looking in the mirror. By recognizing herself, she demonstrates the theory of self-awareness in parrots which scientists have not supported in the past. Science evidently has a lot to learn in the area of animal behavior. I also enjoyed looking at the YouTube videos of Cosmo and her website and Facebook page.
The book has raised my awareness of the life around me, the delicate balance of the whole human and non-human community, and the importance of taking care of the environment and keeping it clean. I have always believed that animals have a soul. This study of Cosmo’s behavior adds credibility to that idea.
This book is well-written and professionally edited. I only found one minor typo. The tone of the book is very casual and light, but at the same time, it addresses some very serious topics. I would recommend this book to all animal lovers in general. It is not only entertaining, it is educational. I can’t name one thing I didn’t like about the book. The ultimate purpose of the book is to raise awareness of the interdependence of all living organisms on earth, and I believe that objective was not only met but exceeded. I am giving this book an enthusiastic rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I wish Cosmo a long life and much happiness because she is a very good bird.
Ruminations on a Parrot Named Cosmo
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