Connie and the Pigeons, by Mabel Kaplan

Reviewed by Sally Odgers

Connie and the Pigeonsis a small, handy-sized picturebook illustrated in soft tones of blue-grey, sepia, and muted browns. It has accents of bright colour here and there which “lift” the drawings. I am reminded of a long-ago favourite picturebook of my son’s, with similarly soft drawings. The illustrations repay examination, as children will love looking for the peripatetic lizard character that appears from time to time.

Connie is considerably longer than most picturebook texts. In many ways, it is more like a short, chapterless children’s novel. This length and style of story was popular when I was young, and I have always liked it. The extra word count gives a more relaxed feeling to the telling.

The Connie of the story is the first Qantas plane to take Australian passengers to the UK. Connie loves her work, and is unhappy when she is retired and sent to an aeroplane graveyard for possible recycling. Her lonely days improve when some pigeons set up housekeeping in her interior. The friendly pigeons are indirectly responsible for Connie’s second chance at life.

Connie is a sweet character, and her story is told in a friendly and readable manner. Connie is a “person”, but remains a plane in capabilities. She cannot move unless assisted by a human pilot. The text is simply written, but, like the illustrations, is brightened with touches of verbal and adjectival colour. I can heartily recommend Connie’s story for children (and adults) with a love of planes, aviation history, museums, and stories of renewal and triumph.

Connie and the Pigeons, by Mabel Jean Kaplan, illustrated by Kelli Hainke
Stories for the Telling, 2007

To read Mabel’s account of how she came to write Connie and the Pigeons, visit her guest-blogger appearance at Spinning Pearls .

Connie and the Pigeons is available through Westbooks in Victoria Park WA (08) 9361 4211 Email:; online through or direct from the publisher Stories for the Telling 54 Hudson Avenue Girrawheen WA 6064 Tel. (08) 9342 7150 Email:
cnr Airport and Boomerang Roads
Albion Park Rails, New South Wales 2527
Qantas Founder Outback Museum
PO Box 737
Longreach Qld 4730

This review was first published at Read and reviewed. It is reprinted here with permission.