|Where Do You Go, Birdy Jones by Joanna Nadin|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Lovely story about a girl finding her past and then letting it go. Also, lots of lovely pigeons.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: July 2018|
|Publisher: Little Brown|
|External links: Author's website|
Bridie - Birdy - Jones is eleven and finding life rather hard. After her mother died, it used to be just Birdy and Dad and that was okay, but now there's Birdy, Dad, an overbearing step mum, a little sister and another baby on the way. There's precious little room for Birdy any more and the only place she really feels happy and secure is at her grandfather's pigeon loft. Birdy loves pigeons. She loves caring for them, training them, and releasing them to wait for them to find their way home.
Grandpa understands this and so does Dogger, Birdy's only real friend. Dogger appeared in the pigeon loft one day and Birdy felt an instant connection. He's homeschooled, so the pigeon loft is where they meet. Dogger and Grandpa and the pigeon loft mean everything to Birdy - they are her refuge from a Dad who seems distant and who will never talk about Birdy's mother, a step mum who doesn't understand her at all, and a little sister who is the apple of everyone's eye.
But then Dad announces that their growing family will need a big new house, too far away for Birdy to look after the pigeons. And it's a step too far for Birdy. With Dogger's help, she decides to look for a different, better, family and future...
... I don't mind admitting that I bawled my eyes out over Where Do You Go, Birdy Jones?. It's just so lovely and heartfelt and genuine. It's told in Birdy's inimitable voice - using dialect and blunt yet lyrical language, so that you get right into this little girl's head and heart. There are secrets in the family and these secrets are what Birdy is responding to, even though she doesn't realise it. A twist in the tale makes this very clear and it's absolutely heart-breaking. Releasing the secrets is what will free Birdy, but will the people who love her find the courage to do it?
There's so much to love about this story - the loving descriptions of the pigeons, the nascent friendship Birdy develops with Manjit, a classmate who likes her for herself, the determination and indefatigability of the central character. I won't forget Birdy Jones for a long time.
If Where Do You Go, Birdy Jones appeals, you might also enjoy The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson. Younger readers might like to look at My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond, which blurs the boundaries of fantasy and fiction in a slightly surreal but very heartwarming celebration of the healing power of love.
You can read more book reviews or buy Where Do You Go, Birdy Jones by Joanna Nadin at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Where Do You Go, Birdy Jones by Joanna Nadin at Amazon.com.
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