Fly, Cherokee, Fly by Chris d'Lacey
|Fly, Cherokee, Fly by Chris d'Lacey|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A refreshing, easy-to-read story about the joy caring for animals can bring into one's life, about the special relationships between young and old, and about overcoming bullying. It's frank, honest and engaging, and there isn't a trace of schmaltz.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: January 2008|
|Publisher: Orchard Books|
When Darryl and his friend Garry find an injured pigeon in the park, Darryl is determined to keep it. So what if it has a broken wing? So what if it can't fly? Darryl will love it anyway. He's never had a pet, and he longs for one. After a protracted battle with his parents and a nerve-wracking meeting with the local pigeon fancier Alf Duckins, Darryl gets his wish. He names his bird Cherokee and he kits out the garden shed like an avian paradise.
And Cherokee responds well to Darryl's TLC. So well, in fact, that she flies. Darryl is overjoyed. However, Cherokee's recovery brings with it a real problem. She's an ex-racing pigeon and her owner, Lenny Spigott, is a bigwig in the local pigeon-fancying community. He allowed Darryl to keep her because a handicapped bird was no good to him. But a flying bird? Lenny's bully of son, Warren, thinks his father would want Cherokee back, now that she can fly. And Darryl's not about to let that happen...
This is a welcome reissue for Chris d'Lacey's Carnegie-nominated novel. It's a fresh, kindly book, based on the author's own childhood experience of nursing an injured bird back to health. It talks about the joy caring for animals can bring into a child's life and about the special relationships that develop between young and old when a commonality of interest is found. It also talks about how difficult it is to stand up to a bully and the awful consequences if you don't.
Darryl loves Cherokee with a passion. Even his schoolwork improves as he throws himself into a project about her. He learns to understand and respect the gruff Alf Duckins and to appreciate the responsibilities involved in caring for a dependent creature. His personal integrity comes under pressure as the bully Warren forces him to lie and steal to protect his pet. These are simple moral conundrums, but conundrums children face every day. The whole book has readily recognisable and non-judgmental emotional landscape.
The writing is simple and direct, approachable for a confident eight-year-old, but the themes wouldn't seem childish to a less confident twelve-year-old. And it sure does tug at your heartstrings. There's also an underlying seam of humour in the slapstick style all children love; Darryl's friend Garry is such a duffer. He gets everything wrong in spectacularly embarrasing fashion. And of course, it all ends well.
Highly recommended for animal lovers, especially those in the middle primary years.
My thanks to the nice people at Orchard for sending the book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fly, Cherokee, Fly by Chris d'Lacey at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Fly, Cherokee, Fly by Chris d'Lacey at Amazon.com.
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