The story commences when Birdy, whose real name is Bridie, is sobbing over the news that her step-mother, Sadie, is having a baby. Birdy feels it’s bad enough that she has to share her Dad with Sadie, now she will have to share him with another sibling. Suddenly Dogger appears in Birdy’s grandfather’s loft where, Birdy spends much of her spare time looking after his racing pigeons. Dogger is a great comfort and sounding board for Birdy but there’s something mysterious about him. His hair is odd, his clothes are strange, and he appears and disappears abruptly.
Birdy’s father has experienced a lot of grief with the death of his wife and a son. Now that he has a new wife, he refuses to talk about the past. When Birdy has to write a biographical piece as preparation for secondary school, she finds she has nothing to say.
Birdy has few friends at school, but Manjit takes an interest in her and her grandfather’s pigeons. This friendship helps Birdy as she looks for photos, and information about her childhood. Eventually she runs away from home hoping to find her real father. The story ends well, with Birdy being at peace with her blended family.
Mostly I enjoyed the story. It was a unique way of addressing the issues of grief and loss with a young audience. I did struggle several times with the omniscient point of view, as well as the irregular use of grammar, and misspellings to create an accent. This may have been because the book was set in northern England. However, I found it a distraction, which lessened my enjoyment of an otherwise well-written, well-told story.
Thanks to Christian School Suppliers for providing a free book for review.Children's bookGrief and lossJoanna NadinSecular