Review – Real Pigeons Fight Crime (Andrew McDonald)

Keywords: funny, Year 2+ reading, paragraphs, chapter book, comic strips, crime-fighting, mystery, comedy.

Okay, I have a confession to make: the only reason I read this book is because a lot – and I mean a lot – of my students seem to love it. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up and read it.

The front cover

It’s not because it looks bad or anything! It just didn’t seem like something I’d personally like to read. And that’s fine! You don’t need to like every single book you see. But here’s the thing: looking at a book and actually reading it are very different things. How does the idiom go again? “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, that’s definitely true in this case, because I actually enjoyed this book far more than I expected!

Real Pigeons Fight Crime is the story of a group of…well, what do you think? A group of pigeons who fight crime. A straight-forward title that tells you exactly what the book is about!

The main thing that surprised me was how how much fun it was to read through the three stories. (That’s right: this book is actually three stories in one!) The first story introduces Rock, the main character. We learn about how he joins the crime-fighting pigeons and saves a park from a mysterious monster. The second story tells us about how the pigeons save a group of bats from another mysterious monster.

But then comes the third story. You’d think it would be about another mysterious monster causing trouble, right? Well, you’re only a little bit correct, because there are actually two mysterious monsters! And they are very familiar characters…

Andrew McDonald (author) and Ben Wood (illustrator)

But even though the main plot is fun, it can be a bit distracting. I noticed on my second read-through (yes, I read this twice!) that there were sub-plots hiding behind the main story. A ‘sub-plot’ is like a mini story that’s inside or next to the big story. Think of an episode of any TV show or cartoon you like. There’s usually a main story, but there’s also a second story that another character goes through. It’s not as big as the main plot, but it’s just as important!

Anyway, the sub-plots in Real Pigeons Fight Crime can be tricky to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. My favourite sub-plot is from the second story about bats. It involves friendship and feeling like people respect you and acknowledge what makes you special! When you read the book, see if you can spot which characters I’m talking about.

The book itself is presented in a very fun way: lots of pictures and lots of words that bend and stretch in really cool ways. Definitely give this book a try if you want inspiration when designing your own books! The style reminds me of the Geronimo Stilton series (I plan on reviewing that one day, don’t worry!), so if you like those books, you’ll probably like this one too. Real Pigeons also reminds me of Dogman (which I have actually reviewed before!) with its zany sense of humor and plot twists!

The book is presented with paragraphs, comic strips, illustrations and labels!
My attempt at drawing Tumbler! I got the instructions from the Real Pigeons website.

There’s one last amazing think about Real Pigeons. It has its own website! That’s right, you can go to a website, join the ‘Super Coo Club’ and get a whole bunch of fun activities to do! My favourite activity is the one where they teach you how to draw the characters. I got to draw my favourite character (Tumbler, the bendy pigeon)! Honestly, if a book teaches you how to draw its characters, it immediately becomes 10 times better to me. Every book series should have fun activities like Real Pigeons!

Obviously, as a reader who gobbles up funny books, Alfie loves Real Pigeons Fight Crime. Jun likes it too! It’s the perfect book for some light reading when you’re having a break from schoolwork! These two like the book so much, in fact, that they have both forgiven it for calling cats ‘scary’ and ‘evil’. Both kitties would much rather become pigeons now, honestly!