A racing pigeon who can’t fly dreams of travel but ultimately finds—and shares—his own way to adventure.
Gary eats, sleeps, and dreams just like other birds. But on race days he must stay behind, organizing his beloved scrapbook of travel mementos (collected from the others’ excursions). Hungrily he listens to the birds’ tales, jotting down notes on aerial paths and wind directions. When the flightless pigeon is accidentally left in the city, he uses his scrapbook to find his way home—returning with a story and souvenirs of his own. The opening text is repeated at the end with a slight twist, cleverly emphasizing how Gary’s differences can be a gift, with the other pigeons sometimes wanting to be just like him. Text and illustrations work together to create a meaningful story that’s playful and fun. The mixed-media artwork has a scrapbook aesthetic, with subtle washes of color and pencil work that reinforces shapes, creating texture and shading. Rudge smartly uses collage for Gary’s maps or items he’s collected, as the medium becomes integral to the story. Thoughtful compositions keep eyes moving across spreads, offering readers the sensation of traveling.
This convivial and gentle story about differences is a needed addition to collections about challenging the norm or upending physical expectations. (Picture book. 3-7)