Pigeon & Cat
Author & Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Published June 21st, 2022 from Christy Ottaviano Books
Summary: Pigeon and Cat form a lasting bond in this poignant picture book about compassion and friendship.
In an abandoned city lot, Cat lives alone in a cardboard box. He leaves only to find food. One day, Cat discovers an unbroken egg too beautiful to eat. Soon, out pecks Pigeon, and they become fast friends. Cat is happy to share his box with Pigeon. But when Pigeon flies far away from where they live, Cat must brave the city in order to rescue his friend. This journey will forever transform his understanding of home.
This heartwarming story explores unlikely friendships, the creative spark within us, and how to give comfort and kindness in small, impactful gestures. It is also a celebration of urban community.
About the Author: Edward Hemingway is the acclaimed creator of many popular books: Tough Cookie: A Christmas Story, Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus, and Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship. His writing and artwork have been published in the New York Times and GQ Magazine, among others. The youngest grandson of Ernest Hemingway, he lives in Bozeman, Montana. He invites you to visit him at edwardhemingway.com, on Twitter @EdwardHemingway, and Instagram: @edwardhemingway.
Review: This book is special both in message and in art.
First, I loved that the book not only showed that one act of kindness can change a lot and that a friendship can change people, but it also showed that there are people out there that it is worth not giving up hope on. Cat, at the beginning, is hard to like and it seems he would be okay with that. Then he saves Pigeon and changes. Although, it is HIS act of kindness that changes the trajectory of the story, it is Pigeon that helps him see that that kindness isn’t a fluke; that Cat can be more than he’s been.
Second, Hemingway’s art is just so beautifully done. It is hard for me to explain, but just looking at the style of his painting, I find myself being sucked into the story. It is just a fantastic addition to the story and brings it all to life in a way that is so perfect. I can definitely see Hemingway’s love in the art (see below for what he said about the art).
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Edward Hemingway created a video sharing his inspiration behind the book (https://vimeo.com/626765984) which would be a wonderful start of a discussion about kindness and friendship and how it can change someone’s life and even the world. Students could also write their own stories with an act of kindness changing a character just like Cat changed.
Also, I received the book with an amazing letter from the author which is a call for action. I want to share it with you because it has so much to talk about as well as a perfect After Reading activity in the classroom:
I am very proud to be sending you my latest work, Pigeon & Cat. This book is so special to me. At its heart it is a story about kindness and compassion, and also about the gifts that art provides.
I hand painted all the artwork for the book during the height of the pandemic, so I was either isolating in my studio or at home with my fiancé. In a way, the book became one of my friends, and I looked forward to seeing it and working on it every day. I’m so happy to be sharing it with you now, and I hope that reading it touches you in some small way.
Pigeon & Cat begins with one small act of kindness. When Cat finds Pigeon’s abandoned egg on the ground, he cares for it instead of eating it. I firmly believe that such small acts of kindness can shine a bright light in dark times and open the pathway to a more positive future.
In the spirit of envisioning such a future, I have a small favor to ask of you. Pigeon opens Cat’s eyes to the beauty in the world around him, and when Pigeon goes missing, Cat creates beautiful messages in chalk that dot the city streets, walls, and avenues in an effort to reach his friend. He leaves these messages for all to see… Won’t you leave some beautiful messages on a wall or street or chalk board for your friends and community just like Cat? It would be wonderful to see the beautiful things you create.
If you post your creations, please tag me so I can see what you do!
- What did Pigeon do to change how Cat viewed the world?
- How did this change Cat’s character traits?
- Why was Cat the way he was at the beginning?
- Cat thought he was happy in the beginning of the book. Do you think he was happier at the beginning or end?
- What types of messages did Cat draw around the city for Pigeon to find?
- How does the transformation of Cat’s shelter represent Cat’s change as a character?
- Why do you think the creator had illustrations change from full color to black silhouetted sometimes?
- What kindness messages would you put around your community for others?
- What was something during the pandemic that you did to help keep yourself preoccupied?
Read This If You Love: Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; Negative Cat by Sophie Blackall; Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel; A Cat is Better by Linda Joy Singleton; All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!!**