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by Henry Cole ; illustrated by Henry Cole

Pub Date: April 1st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-68263-254-3
Publisher: Peachtree

Homer the homing pigeon and Lulu, an Amazon parrot, collaborate to defeat a wily, sewer-dwelling alligator with a taste for bling.

The engaging conceit is that Homer long ago taught himself to read. Channeling his favorite cartoon detective, Dick Tracy, he’s determined to discover why rats and cats are stealing valuables from people in the park. With the help of his wild pigeon friends, he observes that the shiny stash is being taken into the storm sewers. Since he’s a pigeon of some talent, he’s convinced he and Lulu can explore the tunnels, solve the mystery of where the stolen items are being taken, and safely get away. They discover a huge, bejeweled alligator being served by a cast of minions. But how to relate this remarkable story to Otto, Homer’s owner, and Charlotte, Lulu’s human friend? Homer uses his ability to read words and Lulu, her skill in speaking them to communicate the necessary information. Each chapter begins with a panel of attractive pencil illustrations that record the highlights to follow. In them, Otto presents White, and Charlotte has darker skin. The birds’ exploits are surprisingly believable and enjoyable to follow in Homer’s first-person narration. The humans are appropriately less developed. Why Snaps the alligator loves jewels and how the rats and cats came to serve her are barely explored, leaving this potential adversary rather flat.

Who doesn’t love smart, friendly birds on a secret mission?

(Fantasy. 8-11)