Pippa by Dimity Powell

cover image

Illus. by Andrew Plant. Ford St Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925804270.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Pigeons, Family, Independence, Predators, Cautionary tale. Pippa the young pigeon dearly wants to fly. She sidles to the edge of the branch and looks out over the fields, only to have her parents, Percy and Peg, call her back with stories of what might happen when venturing out alone. They snuggle their baby in close at night, telling her that she is still young. She keeps exercising her wings until they are strong. One day when Percy and Peg are out foraging, she flaps her wings and leaps off the branch and flies above the paddocks and the river and the trees, feeling free.
But a blur shoots past her in the form of a falcon. Together they weave and dodge across the sky, Poppa's heart racing, as she tumbles into a barn. Here she is still not safe, a fox lies in waiting. She takes to the air once again, this time looking for the safety and comfort of home, and she flies across the night sky until a familiar smell rises to meet her. She is home.
This beautiful story resonates with the comfort offered by home, but also allows the small pigeon leeway enough to go out exploring for herself, albeit beset by predators.
The dangers of the outside world are obvious but with cunning and fortitude she makes it back home.
Andrew Plant's illustrations show the little pigeon, Pippa, with immediate appeal. Her small face and staring eyes are hungry for adventure and seeing what is beyond her domain. She soars above the fields, swirling and twirling, the images moving across the page. When the falcon pursues her the images and the words roll across the page paralleling the ducking and weaving being undertaken by Pippa as she tries to elude the falcon. I love the image of the fox in the barn, the falcon coming out across the page, the night skies as Pippa tries to find her way back home.
Everything about this book will intrigue and delight the readers, and they will go back as I did to look again at the way the text and images fit together creating a subtle cautionary tale about leaving home.
Fran Knight