Call Me Alastair

Publisher: Scholastic

Alastair, an African grey parrot, hatches in the back room of Pete’s Pet Shack a full three days before helping his sister Aggie break out of her shell.

With no parents in sight, Alastair feels responsible for Aggie’s happiness as well as his own, and dreams of freedom and a perfect life of blue skies and palm trees. While he plots their escape, Aggie is yearning for a real home – preferably with 11-year-old aspiring medical practitioner, Fritz.

Can these conflicting ideals be reconciled? Will Pete ever manage to sell the 24 tarantulas he ordered in error? Will Porky the guinea pig ever recover from being dressed in a pink tutu? How did a simple goldfish learn to interpret complex poetry? And will Mrs Plopky finally get the better of Dolores Greenbush?

Populated with a cast of wacky characters (both human and animal) and dripping with wry humour, this novel reads like no other. Take it at face value as a funny, quirky story or read it as an allegory for living a life that is "good enough" rather than perfect.

Heartwarming, heartbreaking, eccentric, strikingly original and stunningly good.

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