Review Blog

Nov 13 2017

Gary by Leila Rudge

cover image

Walker Books Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781921977008
(Age: 3-10) Highly recommended. Gary (both written and illustrated) by Leila Rudge is a charming story about a pigeon that is different to all of his friends. He cannot fly like everyone else, and instead collects souvenirs that they bring back for him. Gary doesn't seem too worried about this as he enjoys his scrap-booking and listening to their adventures. The book continues on to follow Gary on his own adventure, where he must overcome his uncertainty of the city and get back home.
This book is such a great story to use for teaching children about difference and thinking outside the standards of the 'social norm'. I really like the ending which talks of Gary being like all the other racing pigeons most of the time, but then that sometimes the racing pigeons are just like him. It shows that there is not just one way of doing things and challenges the reader/listener to think about physical expectations placed on us every day. The illustrations are pencil drawings mixed with paper cut outs/mixed media and are interesting and engaging, bringing life and adding value to the story.
This story is a well-deserved Honour Book for the 2017 Children's Book of the Year Awards (Early Childhood). I feel is appropriate for children up to the age of 10 as it is a wonderful starting point for discussions of physical difference, social interactions and even storytelling through scrapbooking!
Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.
Lauren Fountain

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