FICTION

Coo

HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2020. 432p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062955975.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3-6–The unconventional tale of an abandoned child who is adopted and raised by a flock of New York City pigeons. Coo is left on the doorstep of a guard shack by her young mother. A pigeon squab named Burr discovers the human child in a mysterious bundle. Recognizing it as a helpless hatchling, he convinces his flock to swoop in and save her by transporting her to their rooftop dovecote. Fast-forward 10 years and readers are introduced to Coo’s life on the roof. She has survived on doughnuts and bagels, and dresses in plastic bags and newspapers scavenged for her by her bird family. The first time she leaves the roof is to get help for her father-figure Burr when his wing is broken in an eagle attack. She is then thrown into a strange new world filled with humans and terrifying predators in the form of house cats. Coo must learn how to survive in the human world, which gives her the unique advantage to help her flock and all the pigeons of the city when grave danger threatens them all. Though the conceit of the novel pushes the limits of reality, readers will nevertheless shed a tear over the pigeons and root for Coo’s success.
VERDICT If readers can suspend disbelief that a baby could successfully be rescued and kept alive by a flock of pigeons, they’ll find this a charming tale of a young girl raised in the wild being slowly reintroduced into society in the same vein as Tarzan. Purchase for collections where series with anthropomorphized animals, like Erin Hunter’s “Warriors” or W. Bruce Cameron’s “A Dog’s Purpose,” are popular.

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