FICTION

Keith Among the Pigeons

Child’s Play. Apr. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781786283443; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781786283436.
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PreS-Gr 1–Keith is no typical cat, though he likes to nap and keep clean like fellow felines Nigel and Hilda. Unlike others of his kind, however, Keith is fond of pigeons. He is so fond of them, in fact, that he tries to sound like them, eat like them, look like them, and even fly alongside them. In the end, Keith realizes he can never become a pigeon and he’ll never be like other cats but settles for being himself—whatever that may be. The text never reveals why pigeons are so appealing to Keith or even why they ultimately accept him for his differences. Brosnan’s illustrations, a blend of pastel-colored paints and line drawings, feature rather generic birds, not specifically pigeons, but Keith is the most eye-catching character, in pumpkin orange with bright red spots. An ambiguous ending leaves Keith’s identity unresolved: If not a cat or pigeon, then who is he? Children invited to hear his story will likely wonder the same and possibly overlook the main idea about finding oneself.
VERDICT While this tale of self-discovery and acceptance of differences promotes a valuable lesson, it doesn’t completely achieve that goal. An alternative like Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles may communicate these concepts more effectively.

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