The Story of Diva and Flea

Mo Willems, illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi. Disney-Hyperion, $14.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-4847-2284-8
Inspired by a real-life dog and cat Willems met during a stay in Paris, this tender friendship story traces the developing rapport between Diva, a small dog who takes seriously the job of guarding her home on 11 avenue le Play, and a roving black cat named Flea. Flea considers himself a flaneur, one who “has seen everything, but still looks for more, because there is always more to discover,” as Willems explains. He sets the story over several acts, complete with two intermissions (“le premier entracte” and “le deuxième entracte”), as Diva cautiously ventures out to see the wonders beyond her courtyard and Flea learns that a home can be a lovely thing (and that not all brooms are made for swatting at stray cats). Dabbed with greens and reds, DiTerlizzi’s elegant images of Parisian landmarks, handsome buildings, and the feisty interactions between Diva and Flea make the story feel instantly fit for translation to the big screen, and may have some adult readers checking airfares. Ages 6–8. Author’s agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt Agency. Illustrator’s agency: Gotham Group. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/17/2015
Release date: 10/13/2015
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