Title: Home in the Sky
Author: Jeannie Baker
Major Themes: New York City, Pigeons
Synopsis: A flock of pigeons is kept on the top of a burned-out building in New York City.
Our local library has a pitifully small selection of children’s books. There are, maybe, about 50 picture books on the shelf at any one time, and hardly any are worth looking at twice. Some of my boys participated in the summer reading program this year, and had a hard time finding anything that was worth reading. Home in the Sky is one that they brought home. At first, I didn’t think I would like it, but when I helped my 6-year-old read it and took the time to really look at the pictures, I was much more favorably impressed.
Home in the Sky is the story of a pigeon who lives in a coop on the top of a burned-out building in New York City. A man named Mike keeps a large flock of pigeons there, and every morning and evening he climbs to the top of the building to feed the pigeons and let them out to fly around for some exercise. One day, Light flies away and gets lost. As he tries to find his way home, we get a glimpse of the city and the life of other people on the Lower East Side.
What really makes this book is the pictures. They are collages, made with paper, clay, cloth, feathers, grass . . . . A note in the back of the book says that it took two years to create the pictures! I’ll believe it; they are incredible. All the different textures and shapes make the pictures seem 3-dimensional, and give you a feel for the poverty, ugliness—and unexpected beauty in the inner city. This is a book I won’t mind reading over a few more times.
WARNING: I didn’t like the name of Mike’s dog—Werewolf. I was glad no one asked about it so I didn’t have to explain!
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 5 – 6, 7 – 9