Take flight with Perfect Pigeons

Paula Kelsall

Little kids have big questions to consider. Who do they want to be? Will growing up mean blending in with the crowd, or should they forge a new path for themselves? Perfect Pigeons, a new picture book by Sandy Hill resident Katherine Battersby, encourages joyful self expression as its hero, a cheerfully whimsical pigeon, shows his flock how to embrace their passions, whether for baking or tap dancing.

Photo Paula Kelsall

Katherine Battersby grew up in Australia, where she trained and worked as a paediatric occupational therapist and then became the author and illustrator of many books for children. She met her husband, award-winning Canadian poet Shane Rhodes, at a literary festival in Brisbane, and moved to Canada to be with him. The couple live on Charlotte Street with their daughter, two-year-old Tilde, to whom Perfect Pigeons is dedicated.

Remembering what it was like “to be small in a big world,” Katherine Battersby aims to write “quirky books with a lot of heart” that will help children navigate their daily challenges. The training she received in child development and psychology for her first career has a big impact on her books. These include a series about a rabbit named Squish, and another dedicated to early birthdays; You’re One!, You’re Two!, etc. Currently she is working on a new series of graphic novels for children aged 5-8, featuring a cranky chicken.

The pandemic has taken some of the fun out of the writing life for Katherine Battersby, who really enjoys connecting with her audience. The festivals and the readings at schools and libraries just aren’t happening right now.

Nonetheless, Perfect Pigeons had a virtual launch in October with the help of Perfect Books on Elgin Street. The event included chats with writing friends around the world, a reading, and an interactive drawing session, and can still be viewed on Katherine Battersby’s YouTube channel. Readers who would like an autographed copy of the book can order one from Perfect Books. Katherine Battersby will happily include a special inscription or drawing upon request.

YouTube is also where you can find “Kat Bat Draws,” a series of short drawing tutorials Katherine Battersby put together early in the pandemic to amuse and stimulate kids who are stuck at home. Her fans are sending her their own drawings inspired by these videos, and reminding her that her audience is still out there, awaiting the day when we can all be a little closer to one another, reading and drawing together.

Katherine Battersby, who lives on Charlotte St., has dedicated her new book to her 2-year old Tilde.