cover image Homer on the Case

Homer on the Case

Henry Cole. Peachtree, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-68263-254-3

In this chirpy illustrated mystery, an intrepid homing pigeon teams up with a pampered parrot to solve a series of crimes. Curious racing homing pigeon Homer, the novel’s narrator, lives on a rooftop looked after by his boy Otto and Otto’s grandfather. Homer taught himself to read “Human” from the newspapers on his cage floor, and particularly enjoys following the comic Dick Tracy. Cole (Brambleheart) richly imbues the narrative with sensory details; Homer’s perspective and his appetite for “surveillance,” which cause him to notice a bejeweled rat that sparks his interest in a series of thefts, prove engaging. The friendship between Homer and a cosseted talking parrot named Lulu enables this unlikely duo to communicate with their humans and enlist their help in detective work. Unfortunately, female characters prove heteronormatively gendered and subordinate, and the many references to Dick Tracy may go unappreciated by readers unfamiliar with the comic. The expressive b&w pencil illustrations, rendered in panels evoking newspaper comics, heighten drama, tension, and humor. While the mystery itself might falter, the industrious hero charms. Ages 8–12. [em](Apr.) [/em]