Gary, written and illustrated by Leila Rudge, is the story of a young pigeon living in the city. He resides in a loft with several other racing pigeons, eating what they eat and doing what they do. But there is one big difference between Gary and the other pigeons. Gary can’t fly! While the other pigeons go on adventures around the city, Gary scrapbooks all of their adventures, collecting mementos from their travels and guarding them safely in his book. The beginning and end pages of the book are covered in these souvenirs, as seen below.
One day, Gary accidentally falls into the racing basket with his scrapbook and is dropped in the middle of the city. As the other pigeons race back to the loft, soaring through the air, Gary wonders if he will ever find his way home. He opens his scrapbook for comfort and realizes he has all the clues to finding his way home. Even though he’s never really been in the city, he has pieces from each place in his book.
Eventually, Gary navigates his way through the big city, using metro cards and maps and steps off of the bus in front of the loft. At the end of the book, the racing pigeons learn a thing or two from Gary and take his lead, traveling through the city by bus!
The story of Gary the pigeon is a sweet take on finding your way home. The illustrations are mostly drawn in a colorful fashion, however Rudge also mixes in some elements of a real city, like newspaper clippings or real maps, to make the pictures incredibly interesting to look at. Each page presents new colors or urban scenes that can be matched to different pages in Gary’s scrapbook. Leila Rudge whisks her readers away on a new adventure through the story of an atypical protagonist that will be fun for any who read it.
Post by Campbell Slatton