Year Published: 1997
Written by: Jane and Christopher Kurtz
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
Description: Some might say that Ondu-alhlem’s favorite bird, Chinkay, is only a pigeon. But to the young Ethiopian boy, Chinkay is everything is proud and beautiful and free. Ondu-ahlem watches over his flock of pigeons, feeding the orphaned chicks and guarding the birds from the attacks of hungry stray cats or shele mitmont, the wild mongoose. Finally, his care and training are put to the test as two birds are set free in a nerve-wracking game that tries their homing instinct and loyalty. Left on the ground, Ondu-ahlem can only wait to see if Chinkay will return.
In lyric, elegant prose, Jane and Christopher Kurtz present a vivid picture of life for one boy in modern-day Ethiopia. E.B. Lewis’s powerful watercolor paintings capture both the poverty and beauty of life in the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa.
“A well-written retelling that’s sure to be enjoyed.”–School Library Journal
“Lewis’s Exceptional watercolors of Ethiopian mountains and mountain people quicken Kurtz’s … revision of a well-known tale.” –Publishers Weekly
“Arrestingly beautiful watercolor illustrations … A handsome and evocative book.”–The Horn Book
African Studies Association’s 1998 Children’s Book Award for Younger Children winner.
1997 Parents’ Choice Gold Award.