________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 12 . . . . February 6, 2009

cover King of Rome.

Dave Sudbury. Illustrated by Hans Saefkow.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-894965-94-1.

Subject Headings:
Hudson, Charlie-Juvenile fiction.
Racing pigeons-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Sylvia Pantaleo.

*** /4

excerpt:

In the West End of Derby lived a working man He says, "I can't fly, but my pigeons can; And when I set them free, it's just like part of me Gets lifted up on shining wings."

King of Rome is a true story about a working class gentleman called Charlie Hudson. In his English town, Derby, Charlie raised pigeons. He loved his feathered friends, and he gained a personal sense of freedom and hope when the pigeons took flight. In 1913, Charlie entered one of his pigeons in a race from Rome. On the day of the competition, a vicious storm swept in and over 1, 000 pigeons were lost in the tempest. To Charlie, the loss of his pigeon seemed to only further symbolize the challenging life lived by him and many of his fellow mates in the industrial town. However, his pigeon survived, received international acclaim and became known as “The King of Rome.”

internal art

    Dave Sudbury, who was born in Derby, has written several songs about his life experiences. Initially he sang his compositions at local folk clubs, but he subsequently recorded his songs on a CD. According to information on the last recto of the book, the title song of the CD, ‘The King of Rome,’ has been recorded by many singers.

    Hans Safekow, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, who currently lives in British Columbia, illustrated the lyrics of Dave Sudbury’s song with pencil crayons. The detail in the artwork captures the historical period, and Safekow’s limited colour palette of brown, grey and black effectively communicates the atmosphere of the industrial town. The front and back endpages depict Charlie’s pigeon flying over Rome – the bird is positioned in the upper right-hand corner of the recto seemingly flying right off of the page. The single and double-page spreads are all full bleeds, and Safekow uses a variety of perspectives to convey flight and distance.

Recommended.

Sylvia Pantaleo is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria where she teaches courses in language arts.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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