Only a Pigeon

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Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1997 - Juvenile Fiction - 40 pages
1 Review
A lyrical picture book inspired by the daily life of "pigeon boys" in Ethiopia

Some might say that Ondu-ahlem's favorite bird, Chinkay, is only a pigeon. But to the young boy from Addis Ababa, Chinkay is everything that is proud, beautiful, and free. Ondu-ahlem watches over his flock like a mother, feeding the orphaned chicks and guarding the birds from the attacks of stray animals. Finally, his care and training are put to the test as two birds are set free in a nerve-wracking game that tries their homing instinct and loyalty. Left on the ground, Ondu-ahlem can only hope that Chinkay will return. Elegant prose and stunning watercolor paintings dramatically capture both the poverty and beauty of life in a modern Ethiopian city.

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Review: Only a Pigeon

User Review  - LeAnne - Goodreads

Ondu-ahlem carefully trains his pigeons and prepares them for the day he and other Ethiopian boys will test the homing instinct and loyalty of their precious birds. Modern urban Ethiopia shown in effective water colors. Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Jane Kurtz is a highly acclaimed author of books for young readers. Her picture books include "Fire on the Mountain, " an honor book for the Marion Vannett Ridgeway Award, and "River Friendly, River Wild, " winner of the Golden Kite Award for picture book text. Christopher Kurtz previously collaborated with his sister, Jane, on "Only a Pigeon, " which won a Parents' Choice Gold Award and an African Studies Association Award. Jane and Christopher spent part of their childhoods in a remote village in Ethiopia. Christopher returned to Ethiopia to teach as an adult and spent many hours with monkeys at the Awash National Park. Jane visited the water hole at Treetops, Kenya, while working on this story. Jane Kurtz lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Christopher Kurtz lives in Portland, Oregon.

Earl Lewis is dean of graduate studies at the University of Michigan.

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