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King of the Sky




by Nicola Davies
illustrated by Laura Carlin
Candlewick Press





A young Italian boy who has moved to the Welsh hills with his family feels isolated and unhappy, a stranger in a strange land. He makes friends with elderly Mr. Evans, his neighbor who trains homing pigeons.  The pigeons remind the boy of the pigeons in St. Peter’s Square back home in Rome. The boy helps the old man train and race the pigeons, and the old man gives the young boy a pigeon to train on his own.  The boy names the pigeon   “Re Del Cielo” or “King of the Sky.” At first, King of the Sky does not appear to be a strong flyer; however, Mr. Evans insists it will be a winner. They enter the pigeon in a twelve hundred mile race that is from the boy’s beloved Italy back to the Welsh hills.  The boy send the pigeon by train to Rome where it is released.  The boy and the old man wait two days and two nights for the pigeon to return; the boy fearing the pigeon will not return.   Finally, the bird returns, flying into the boy’s arms! He is a champion!  The boy finally feels that he is home, too.

Nicola Davies’s beautiful story is illustrated by Laura Carlin. The smudged, crayon-like drawings wonderfully illustrate the contrast between the smoky mining town and the boy’s precious memories of his homeland.  Even though the drawings appear indistinct, there is a great amount of detail, especially in the individual pigeons.

Grades K-3.

This entry was posted in Book Review 2017.