Sunday, May 21, 2017

Diva and Flea by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi

The cover of this book says
Diva and Flea a Parisian Tale
As told and shown by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi

On the last page it says (this made me laugh)
"Some names and places in this story have been altered to protect the privacy of the animals involved."

These two tiny details really set the tone for this a terrific book :

  • You will not predict the plot
  • You will not predict the relationship between Diva (dog) and Flea (cat)
  • You will enjoy the setting right beside the Eiffel Tower
  • You will learn new words such as 'flaneur'
  • You might marvel that Mo truly did meet little Diva in Paris

Diva lives in a Paris apartment.  "Diva took her job very seriously...   And if anything ever happened, no matter how big or small, Diva would yelp and run away. Diva was very good at her job."

Flea is a large cat.  "Flea did not have a fixes occupation ... he was a flaneur. A flaneur is someone (or somecat) who wanders the streets and bridges and alleys of the city just to see what there is to see. A great flaneur has seen everything but still looks for more, because there is always more to discover."

Flea and Diva will of course meet in this story but how their relationship unfolds will astonish you. When Flea first sees Diva she yelps and runs away.  This amuses and intrigues Flea and so for several days he plays the game.  He walks past the courtyard of 11 avenue Le Play and Diva yelps and runs away. Then one day Diva stops and asks "are you trying to hurt my feelings?" The next day Flea leaves Diva a dead mouse as a peace offering. Diva would prefer a ribbon and so the two share their first laugh.

I love their developing relationship.  Diva has things to learn from Flea about being brave and stepping outside and also about the wonders of the city of Paris.  Flea has things to learn from Diva about patience and friendship and life in a human home.

Look closely and you will see a picture of Mo Willems himself by Tony DiTerrlizzi near the end of the story and make sure you read the final pages about their inspiration for this warm story.

Here is the cover in French.  Read this review for more details.  Now take nine minutes out of your busy day and watch this video where Tony and Mo discuss their collaboration.

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