FLY, CHER AMI, FLY! by Robert Burleigh


The Pigeon Who Saved the Lost Battalion
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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During World War I, the U.S. Army relied on a flock of 600 carrier pigeons to send messages back to headquarters from troops in the field, and one, Cher Ami, became famous for saving the “Lost Battalion,” which had been trapped behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t do the stirring story justice. The text relies on far too many exclamation points (“Dear Friend, go safely. Save us!”), which makes the action seem forced and melodramatic. While MacKenzie’s illustrations use color and line effectively to evoke the chaos of the battle scenes, the soldiers often look stiff. Worst yet, some of the most stirring historic details—that Cher Ami was badly injured on his Lost Battalion flight, but cared for by Army doctors and even given a prosthetic leg—are banished to the afterword. It is regrettable that these fascinating facts were not included in a work presented as a true story. Instead readers see an uninjured pigeon in a Disney-esque ending: “He had saved the soldiers! Sleep, Cher Ami, sleep!” (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8109-7097-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2008


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