Anthony Lewis Books

~ Lanette Raymond, Ph.D., President, Long Island Parrot Society

Marc Morrone from Parrots of the World, the Martha Stewart Show, and the host of The Pet Shop on the LifeSkool Cable Channel. 

~ Barbara Heidenreich for Good Bird Magazine.

Long Island Parrot SocietyDr. Lanette Raymond is the President of the 600-member strong Long Island Parrot Society.

I love parrots, and have recently allowed myself to drift onto the fringes of science fiction, especially stories set with one foot in a recognizable environment. Anthony F. Lewis’s book Little Birdies! is an excellent example of such persuasive science fiction. Grounded in the research of Dr Irene Pepperberg and Alex the African Grey parrot, the leap to sci-fi transgenic parrots and their subsequent offspring does not seem so stark. 

As the plot moves into the realm of government wildlife agencies, the politics of funding both academic and ecological research provides weight to the story. The detail with which the parrot sanctuary is visualized touches on the dream of every parrot owner and parrot, and holds as a type of heaven on earth, though a bit beyond the financial grasp of most. The familiar vistas of upstate New York and Manhattan encouraged me to follow along with the human characters as they tracked the flock of dino-birds through the second half of the novel.

In fact, I was often so absorbed in the narrative that I forgot it was science fiction and found myself thinking about a visit to the geodesic dome so “near” to Mohonk Mountain House. But it is the relationship between these birds and their caregivers, what they learn and what they teach, that made me live Little Birdies.


Little Birdies!

Marc MorroneYou know Marc Morrone from Parrots of the World, the Martha Stewart Show, and as the host of The Pet Shop on the LifeSkool Cable Channel.

One of my favorite books of all time was Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The author’s descriptions of the pastoral English countryside were vivid and organic, and transported the reader into an imaginary world in ways that only a great novel can do.

It’s that ability to carry readers away and immerse them in a fictional world that I most like about Little Birdies! by Anthony F. Lewis. The fact that the setting for much of the book was New York’s densely forested Hudson Valley and the spectacular Mohonk Mountain House only upped the measure of personal satisfaction for me. Lewis captures the region’s look and feel in a manner that effortlessly sweeps the reader away to the woodland steams and primordial highlands that inhabit the story.

Another mark of a world-class novelist—the late Michael Crichton comes to mind here—is attention to detail; especially scientific detail. There are few things more upsetting for me than when an author ruins a perfectly good story by getting the facts wrong. Such is not the case here.  Like Crichton, Lewis has exhaustively researched his subject matter, providing the reader with a convincing and realistic platform from which to launch the story.

There are many good stories around. What sets books like Little Birdies! apart from the rest is the author’s attention to detail and the ease with which he draws the reader into the story. Do yourself a favor … curl up with a copy of Little Birdies! and be prepared to be transported.


“Little Birdies” by Anthony F. Lewis

Reviewed by Barbara Heidenreich for Good Bird Magazine, Fall, 2009.

Barbara HeidenreichMost fiction these days seem to focus on murder mystery, crime or romance. I have to admit none of those genres spark my interest. However I recently came upon a novel perfectly suited for parrot enthusiasts who like character studies, suspense, drama and action!\

I found author Anthony F. Lewis and his book Little Birdies by chance via Twitter. Two weeks later I had a copy of this 400 plus page novel in my hands.

It is clear the work of Irene Pepperberg and the infamous Alex the African grey are the launching point into an exploration of a research project that encounters a few unexpected bumps. Imagine the next generation of Alex with an even more advanced capacity for communication with humans. Now what would happen if those birds reproduced? Without giving away too much, the situation leads to a flock with some very special talents as well as some dangerous attributes. However despite their flaws they are well loved by their caretakers as evidenced by the lengths they go to in order to do right by these creatures, even when they misbehave.

Parrot owning readers will find it easy to relate to the many subtle references to life with a parrot. Little comments about the shoulder riding ring neck parrot bonking his beak on his owner’s cheek assure you this author has spent some time with parrots. The dedication confirms a special parrot probably had a lot of influence on this novel.

A few behavioral interpretations might be a bit outdated (such as dominance in relation to height.) But these are forgivable given the fictitious nature of the book. Overall I found myself nodding along when things like endangered kakapos were mentioned, or that the ring starting to appear on the bird’s neck might mean the bird is sexually dimorphic. Lewis most definitely did his research and includes plenty of parrot factoids to keep the bird person engaged.

Set in my old stomping grounds upstate New York, Lewis paints the terrain in great detail whether it be the university classroom, the parrot sanctuary, roadside fruit stands or wooded rolling hills. I enjoyed picturing the sights and sounds of upstate New York being invaded by a flock of misfits.

I think what I liked most about this novel was that it was a rollicking good adventure, full of science, suspense, a hint of romance, a few bad guys, a few heroes and of course birds as a focal point.  Even with all that, there was also room for an important take home message. It certainly struck me when one of the good guys said to his bird “We take you into our home, and if we treat you right, if we earn your trust, you give us your hearts.” Words of wisdom from a writer who knows the connection we share with animals. You can order your copy of Little Birdies at

Barbara Heidenreich has consulted on animal training in zoos and other facilities worldwide since 1990. She's the author of Good Bird! A Guide to Solving Behavior Problems in Companion Parrots and The Parrot Problem Solver - Finding Solutions to Aggressive Behavior, the producer of the Good Bird Parrot Behavior and Training DVD series and publisher of Good Bird Magazine.
I am a retired microbiologist and bird lover. I enjoy writing combining science, avian information, and strong values for youth fictional stories. I haven't published yet, but hope to by 2014. As part of my research, I found and finished reading "Little Birdies". Wow, I was totally engrossed in this book! I could follow the theme, science, characters, and birds so clearly. Your respect for all of the birds was refreshing. I think this could be made into a movie ala Avatar for the dino-birds!
Even though it doesn't seem to have birds in the plot, my next book to read is "The Cenacle Scroll." Thanks for your mind and your writing.
~ M.L.D.

Just finished "Little Birdies" Great adventurous ride, especially for & bird lovers. Check it out!!

I really would like a sequel. :-)