Gary: Book Review

Meet Gary.
Gary lives with a bunch of racing pigeons who get to see the world...So why doesn't he?

Title: Gary
Author: Leila Rudge
ISBN: 9781925081695          Language: English

Classification: Fiction
Themes: mapping, adventure, same but different

What's it about?
Meet Gary. Gary lives with a bunch of racing pigeons who get to see the world. However, when the other pigeons race Gary stays at home because he can't fly. Instead he creates a scrapbook based on everything the other pigeons discuss when they get home. Then one day Gary falls into the basket...and has to find his way home.

The illustrations are engaging and interesting for the most part. The story is well paced without a bunch of unnecessary wordiness or side stories.

Logical reasoning will perhaps annoy some of the more advanced thinkers in your can overthink the story.

My Thoughts
How could the other pigeons not notice Gary was in the basket? And who in their right mind leaves the basket in the city for the pigeons to fly home? Sadly they were the first two thoughts I had when I finished the book. As I wrote above this book may not be the best for logical thinkers but if you are looking to create discussion - then this might just be the perfect book.

On the surface this is just a book about a pigeon going on an adventure but after I read it a few times I started seeing the possibility for other teachable moments. Gary is different from the other pigeons because he can not fly. Despite this though he does the same thing the other pigeons do - just in a different way. I think this is a really good concept to look at. Sometimes kids get focused on the "right way" when really there are many "right ways" that something can be done. Gary demonstrates that just because you are limited by something physically doesn't mean you can't do just go about it in a different way. I would be interested in posing this concept to the students to write about. Eg. substitute pigeons for themselves and inability to fly with the inability to walk, or see, or taste and see how they would work around the limitation.

I like that Gary used his scrapbook of knowledge to apply it to finding his way home. A great example of problem solving and life skills. Again, I could see challenging the kids with the question of how would they get from A to B without someone to drive them. This could then be extended into basic mapping skills - such as drawing a map from the school to their house or other A to B activity. My mind is racing with ideas...better start the activity page!

Overall I think I would be tempted to use this book paired with something such as Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney or other similar map/directional books.

Get to know the author
Click the banner above to visit Leila Rudge's official website.

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