Willems, Mo. The Story of Diva and Flea. New York, NY: Hyperion Books, 2015. 978-148472284-8. 66 pages. $14.99. Gr K-3.
Personalities often clash like cats and dogs, yet there is a middle ground where true friendship can find harmony. Such is the story of two French creatures in Mo Willems excellent stand alone beginning chapter book, The Story of Diva and Flea, ably illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. Diva, a skittish guard dog, resides in an apartment complex in Paris; meanwhile, Flea is a wandering adventurer cat who lives life on the streets. When the two clash by the fence, they come to empathize and see new perspectives on life. The presentation is careful to show courage and challenges from both sides, and the view from the creatures provide entertainment for the reader as well as a good moral. The French setting and phrases add a “joie de vivre” for this touching tale. THOUGHTS: Die hard fans of the Pigeon or Elephant and Piggie will not recognize much of Mo in this tale, but it stands alone as an interesting story. Also, the language and reading level are better suited as a class read aloud for K & 1st graders, while 2nd & 3rd graders would certainly enjoy the challenge.
Animal Fiction; Early Chapter Dustin Brackbill, State College Area School District