Pigeon & Cat

Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano. Jun. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316311250.
K-Gr 2–Cat, in collared shirt, suspenders, and pants, is an angry hermit that lives in a cardboard box in a vacant lot. In this cartoon representation of the urban decay of a city center, Cat learns the importance of friendship and community by saving the life of Pigeon. Pigeon and Cat learn about each other through speech bubbles that hold emojilike icons; Pigeon heals, then flies away from the abandoned lot and brings back gifts for Cat that readers will recognize as chalk, crayon, and other supplies that can be used in service of art. Cat is resistant to traveling the world beyond his abandoned lot, but celebrates the gifts with rebus drawings on one of the walls facing the abandoned lot. However, one day Pigeon flies away and does not return; thus begins a growth opportunity for Cat, opening the curmudgeon’s heart and leading to a joyful reunion with Pigeon. The exquisite, vibrant handcrafted oil paintings on board are paired with 10–20-word texts on Pigeon’s and Cat’s thoughts and actions.
VERDICT A splendid paean to the power of art to heal, and the trifecta of friendship, persistence, and inclusivity to rebuild community. A delightful book.

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