Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, August 29, 2022

Cher Ami Written by Melisande Potter; illustrated by Giselle Potter


Cher Ami: Based on the World War I Legend of the Fearless Pigeon
Written by Melisande Potter;
Illustrated by Giselle Potter.
Christy Ottaviano Books.
An imprint of Little, Brown and Company. 2022

In October 1918, A “Lost Battalion” of 694 American soldiers were isolated by German Troops. Would they survive and be rescued? Cher Ami is the story of the messenger pigeon who saved 194 of those soldiers.

During World War 1, over six hundred homing pigeons were trained to carry messages between US and French troops. With a little tiny metal canister fastened to her left foot, Cher Ami completed twelve dangerous missions. Then, one day, Cher Ami is the soldiers only hope to be saved from capture. Even with a gunshot wound to her chest, Cher Ami flies for twenty-five miles until, exhausted, she reaches her home loft. 

The full-page illustrations, done in watercolor and ink on paper, place Cher Ami center stage. 

Cher Ami is listed as nonfiction, but, truly, based on K.T. Horning’s book, From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books, it definitely leans towards fiction. Potter explains in the author's note that she used a blend of truth and legend to relay this exciting tale. Even the illustrator admits that she made some adjustments to the accuracy of the pictures to make Cher Ami’s story seem more accessible visually. Still, this engaging picture book, done by mother and daughter, will certainly spark curiosity in readers of all ages.

Author and illustrator note, and source notes included. 

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