cover image Pablo and Birdy

Pablo and Birdy

Alison McGhee, illus. by Ana Juan. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7026-1

Pablo was a baby when the “winds of change” guided him to the island of Isla, an inflatable swimming pool as his raft and a protective, curiously colored bird by his side. As Pablo’s 10th birthday approaches, his frustration over his lost history flares while Birdy remains flightless and silent. Then the winds of change and their promise of “fortune lost or fortune gained” return to Isla, this time bringing a pastry-thieving dog and a reporter seeking a mythical seafaring parrot, as well as strange behavior from Birdy. McGhee’s (Firefly Hollow) tender tale of the search for home, belonging, and identity smoothly incorporates elements of magical realism and powerful allusions to the refugee experience; for various reasons, most of Isla’s residents have chosen to make new lives there, something Pablo questions in hopes of better understanding his own past. Playful humor, often involving the Committee—a group of chatty, free-roaming birds that judges the fashion choices of passersby and stirs up trouble—deftly counterbalances the emotional weight of this moving tale. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Aug.)