March 15, 2017

PAX AND BLUE

Pax and Blue by Lori Richmond is a touching story of trust and friendship. Every morning, on his way to school, Pax stops and feeds his pigeon friend Blue. But one morning, his mom is in a rush, and they don't have time, walking straight down the stairs and into the subway instead. Pax, of course, feels helpless. But unbeknownst to him, Blue has decided to follow Pax, and he's in need of a little help himself.




The events in this story are incredibly well-balanced. Just when you think Blue is going to be the only hero of the book -- bravely following his friend into a potentially dangerous situation -- the story suddenly flips and Pax becomes a hero, too. It's a wonderful way to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship that should exist between friends and how each person plays a role in the relationship. It also shows a relationship built totally on trust. Being of different species, Pax and Blue have no steadfast and reliable way to communicate with each other. They have to completely rely on their established relationship to carry each other through the story.


The digitally-assembled illustrations are created from ink, watercolor, and charcoal, and they are absolutely lovely. Richmond does such a subtle job of using colors to her advantage: with purple-gray backgrounds, Pax immediately stands out in his yellow shirt. But Blue, who is shades of gray, blends in. It makes sense why Pax doesn't see his friend following him -- to him, the pigeon is much harder to see. And, of course, it's fun for readers to follow the pigeon through the illustrations. It's an interactive element that gets kids involved in reading the visual narrative, and it's fun to know something the main character doesn't.


Pax and Blue published in February 2017 from Paula Weisman Books.