This story starts on a Brooklyn rooftop. Grandfather gives his granddaughter a dove, Isabella, for her birthday and tells...

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THE LANGUAGE OF DOVES

This story starts on a Brooklyn rooftop. Grandfather gives his granddaughter a dove, Isabella, for her birthday and tells her the story of another dove named Isabella. Grandfather was nine then, and both he and the dove were conscripted into the Italian army for the Great War. Returning to base with an important message from the front lines, Isabella was wounded by enemy fire, but struggled back to headquarters in time to save the lives of eight men. It is a story wrapped in the mists of time and memory, moody and seemingly ancient, one that Shed's soft paintings make even dreamier. Back in Queens, when the young girl releases her dove from home, it flies straight back to the grandfather's roost. Fear not, he tells his granddaughter, learn the language of the doves and Isabella will return to you. When the grandfather dies, the doves are sold off, unbeknownst to the girl. Later, her dove appears at her window sill, bearing a message in her grandfather's spidery writing. Well's tale is one of remembrance, magic, and the power of love, and its melancholy air is lightened by nice touches. The best: In his youth, the grandfather would scour the woods for parasols and morelli, then launch his dove to send word of his finds to the cook at the orphanage.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996