Coo, by Kaela Noel
Coo, by Kaela Noel
(Paperback, 432 pages, first published in 2020)
In this unique debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. This is a moving animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.
Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It’s the only home she’s ever known.
But then a hungry hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt. Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo’s flock, and who can heal injured birds.
Tully mends Burr’s broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns the human world can be infinitely more complex and cruel than she could have imagined.
Cautions: One use of the Lord's name in vain. Coo and Tully celebrate Christmas as a day "to share and give gifts and celebrate mysteries and think about good things," and they have one conversation about why people die and where they go ("something people have been trying to answer for as long as there have been people"), with questions but no answers given about heaven, hell, and reincarnation (heaven seems to be the wished-for answer). At times, Coo communicates an immature disdain for humanity (with pigeons portrayed as morally superior), but she ultimately comes to cherish the humans in her life.