Dave Pigeon

posted in: Sheena Dempsey, Swapna Haddow | 2

davepigeonDave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow Dave Pigeon, typed on Swapna Haddow‘s (@SwapnaHaddow‘s) old typewriter by Skipper Pigeon, illustrated by honorary pigeon Sheena Dempsey (@SheenaDempsey) is an outrageous tale of derring-do by two magnificent superheroes as they plot to rid the world of their arch enemy. There is flying through the air. There are elaborate plans. There’s high-stakes tension.

And there are jammy dodgers.

Yes, these are superheroes like you’ve never met before. City pigeons Dave and Skipper are determined to rid their neighbourhood of their evil nemesis Mean Cat. But their plans are somewhat complicated by the fact that Dave (who thinks he is the brains behind everything) isn’t the greatest at thinking up clever ways to get rid of the cat.

Despite sterling support by Dave’s quieter but cannier sidekick, the pigeons’ plans fail time and time again, until at last their luck changes and they manage to send Mean Cat packing. You’d think this would be the cause for great celebration but the pigeons’ now legendary status causes unforeseen problems… and maybe, just maybe they going to have to bring Mean Cat back…

Mischievously narrated, packed with alternating slapstick and deadpan humour – both verbal and visual – this is the funniest books I’ve read in a very long time. It’s bonkers! It’s outrageous! It’s wonderfully wonderful fun! Think Laurel and Hardy but with much more adrenalin, and with an ever present pouncing threat just lurking around the corner.

Any book that opens with an attempt at a croissant heist was going to grab my attention, but Haddow and Dempsey follow through to the very last page with pace, energy and clever observations on friends and enemies, biscuits and birds. This would be a delight to read aloud – I can imagine it causing whole classes to giggle and snort – but it’s also a book I’d recommend to any individual who might benefit from a bit of confidence building when it comes to reading. Fabulously illustrated throughout, with a mixture of characterful cameos and full-page depictions of crazy antics, readers will power through the story, only to be left wanting more (and HURRAH! All the signs suggest there will be a sequel 🙂 ).

A storytelling triumph, in both words and pictures.

They say resistance is futile. And it certainly was in our case. We simply had to have a go at making every bird’s favourite biscuits, our own version of Jammy Dodgers. Here’s the recipe we used:

Makes about 15

150g butter
85g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
Zest of 1 lemon
150g plain flour
50g ground almonds
25g cornflour
125g jam (such as seedless raspberry)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put everything in a food processor and mix until all is combined into a smooth dough.

2. Empty the dough out of the food processor, and use your hands to bring it together in a log shape about 5 or 6 cm in diameter. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut slices from your “log”, about 5mm thick. Use a small cutter (or a bottle top) to stamp out a hole in the centre of half of the slices – these will become the tops of your dodgers.

4. Transfer your slices to a couple of lined baking sheets and place in the fridge for a further 15 minutes.

5. Transfer your biscuits to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the tray.

6. Once cool, put a small amount of jam on to each full biscuit base before putting the “tops” on i.e. the biscuits with the holes on top. Sprinkle a little more sugar over the exposed jam. Gobble up and watch out for pigeons who will try to steal these very yummy biscuits out of your hands!




Just perfect!

Whilst making our jammy dodgers we listened to:

  • Mary Poppins singing Feed The Birds
  • Stool Pigeon by Kid Creole & The Coconuts
  • Poisoning Pigeons In The Park by Tom Lehrer (we imagined Mean Cat singing this)

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Dave Pigeon include:

  • Going on a croissant heist. Now, I’m not suggesting shoplifting, but I do think this book is worth snaffling a few croissants for and then enjoying them as you re-read your favourite bits.
  • Creating your own Medal of the Brave out of a bottle top. Here’s a tutorial you could adapt, from Millie and Friends.
  • Making a mini lever (see-saw) and catapulting a home-made Mean Cat as far as you can! You could use this tutorial for a catapult made with pencils and a tissue box, and this as inspiration for the cat?!

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • Giraffe biscuits to go with Oh Dear, Geoffrey! by Gemma O’Neill
  • Biscuit bears to go with…well, to go with Biscuit Bear by Mini Grey
  • Book biscuits to go with Michael Foreman’s The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army
  • biscuits

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the author.

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