Friday, June 18, 2021

Homer on the Case


Homer on the Case 
by Henry Cole 
144 pages; ages 8-12
Peachtree, 2021

After meeting Homer, you’ll never look at pigeons the same way again. Sure, he’s a homing pigeon – but he’s a homing pigeon who’s taught himself to read. What? You think pigeons can’t read? You’d be wrong… back in 2016 a scientist demonstrated that pigeons can recognize words. And they can do math, too.

Unlike lab pigeons, Homer taught himself to read by using the Dick Tracy comics and local news in the papers used to line his cage. So when people start losing jewelry in the park, Homer reflects on what Dick Tracy would do. He observes, watches, trains his mind to remember the traits of suspects.

The crime spree gets personal when Otto’s grandfather loses his gold pocket watch. Fortunately, Homer has friends who can help – an Amazon parrot named Lulu and a park pigeon named Carlos. With advice from Dick Tracy, Homer and Lulu crack the case. Now all they need to do is get their humans to climb down the storm drain into the underground tunnels. There’s just one small problem: Homer and Lulu need to figure out a way to communicate with their humans. 

What I like about this book: There are heroes and villains – but even the bad guys aren’t all bad. And the ways Homer tries to get messages to his human, Otto, are … creative. Just take a minute to think about how you might communicate something important to another species if you don’t speak the same language – and they think of you as a “cute pet.”

This is a great book for kids who like animal stories, for kids who like STEM, for bird-lovers of all feathers, and for kids who believe that comic book superheroes have wisdom to share.

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I've been seeing this book around. You make it sound more interesting than I thought it would be. I will try to check it out. Thanks for the review.

  2. This sounds like a great story for kids who like animals. I love that Homer learned to read from Dick Tracy comics.

  3. This sounds like such a fun story! It reminds me of Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, with the emphasis on comics and animal characters that can read but not speak. I’m curious how Homer manages to communicate! Thanks so much for the great review!

  4. I haven't heard of this one before- but it does sound good. I just read the picture book Nesting by Henry Cole. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I haven't read Nesting yet - now I'll have to!

  5. I enjoyed reading this one last month. The behavior of the animals was fascinating. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  6. I'm not a big fan of pigeons (I'm a New Yorker, so...) but this sounds interesting and I really do admire homing pigeons for what they have done in wartime. Thanks for sharing it on MMGM.

  7. What a fun story. I didn't know that pigeons were that smart! I'm curious enough to read this book.

    Ordered your book for my great nephew for his birthday! He loves bugs and should receive it tomorrow. I know he'll love it! I had my library order a copy.