Gary (Leila Rudge, Walker Books)
Gary the pigeon has wanderlust. His scrapbook is filled with mementos from everywhere, yet he has travelled nowhere. Unlike his fellow racing pigeons, Gary can’t fly. But one day he accidentally ends up far from home and has no choice but to make his own way back, finding out that he too can have adventures. The second solo picture book from illustrator Leila Rudge shares similar themes to her CBCA Award-shortlisted Ted, a story of a dog who is not sure of his place in the world. Gary has a quiet, wry humour that really shines in Rudge’s depiction of the birds. Her animal characters are the standouts in her picture-book collaborations, such as Meg McKinlay’s No Bears and Rebecca Young’s The Skunk with No Funk. In her own story, the pigeons are a comic treat in what is a simple, understated tale. Rudge’s pencil-and-watercolour illustrations are wonderfully quirky, and the delicate inclusion of collage make this a delight to pore over. Perfect for children aged two to five, this little pigeon can encourage children to look beyond limitations and embrace their differences.
Suzanne Garcia is a bookseller at Mary Martin Bookshop Melbourne