Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gay Neck, The Story of a Pigeon

Finished Gay Neck, The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji. It won the Newbery Medal in 1928. Set mostly in the Himalayas and partially in France during World War I, this is the story of a carrier pigeon. He is named Gay Neck for the colorful feathers about his neck. He is raised by an Indian boy. Gay Neck's parents teach him to fly, but the boy teaches him to be a carrier pigeon. His skills are so fine that he is recruited to work with the allies during the war. This book clearly illustrates that it is a bird-eat-bird world out there. Gay Neck's parents and many other birds are attacked and eaten by eagles, hawks, owls, vultures and crows. At times it was pretty damn disturbing, especially before bedtime.

Nonetheless, the book is an exciting one and the story holds your interest. I think perhaps the older end of the Newbery audience would enjoy it, but it might be too unsettling for younger readers.

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