The Story of Diva and Flea
“As Told” by Mo Willems
“As Shown” by Tony DiTerlizzi
Hyperion Books for Children 10/13/ 2015
80 pages Ages 6—8
“Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, develop an unexpected friendship in this unforgettable tale of discovery. For as long as she could remember, Diva lived at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris, France. For as long as he could remember, Flea also lived in Paris, France—but at no fixed address. When Flea flȃneurs past Diva’s courtyard one day, their lives are forever changed. Together, Diva and Flea explore and share their very different worlds, as only true friends can do.” [inside jacket]
Flea is a flȃneur (“someone (or somecat) who wanders the streets and bridges and alleys of the city just to see what there is to see”), who discovers the new in Paris: the who, what, and where. Flea aimlessly wanders Paris, though admittedly he does go past favorite shops, always hoping for a good treat. One day, Flea travels down avenue Le Play, right up to number 11. There, Flea sees Diva, who, upon seeing Flea, yelps and runs.
Fast-forward several pages. Diva and Flea have become good friends. Flea stops by each day and relates amazing flȃneur-ing stories to Diva. Slowly Flea convinces Diva to join him. Though it is difficult for Diva to leave the courtyard she so wonderfully protects, slowly and surely she makes her way to the corner . . . and then around the corner . . . to where an amazing site awaits her.
In return, Diva convinces Flea to check out her home. Though it is difficult for Flea to leave the streets he knows so well, slowly and surely he makes his way into the foyer . . . and then to the door of Diva’s home . . . to where an amazing site awaits him.
The Story of Diva and Flea will enchant young readers. The two characters are endearing. The dog and cat are supposedly opposites, but in the case of Diva and Flea, opposites do indeed attract. Their friendship becomes enviable as the friends learn to trust each other and then share their worlds. To the other, these friends are heroes as they help each other grow. Flea often entertains Diva with his flȃneur stories. “The Piece of Salami and the Broom that Missed,” and “The Store Where the Man Roasts Whole Chickens and Could Learn a Thing or Two About Sharing” are just two of the humorous titles. Willems humor can be subtle or slap, both of which will cause giggles.
The illustrations are amazing. I may have already used the word amazing in reference to Diva and Flea, but in this case redundancy is most appropriate. The story is amazing, and as I was saying, the illustrations are amazing. The soft green palette, according to artist DiTerlizzi, represents Paris. Green highlights the black and white images, with a touch of red—in collars, bricks, and a red ball. Each chapter heading looks like an ornate address, adding to the classic look of the book. Classic is an apt description of Diva and Flea, and a classic story it surely will become.
Speaking of the illustrations, this may be the first time I have seen the author become part of the story.. You read that correctly, the author, Mo Willems, is in the story, right there on pages 58 to 61, with illustrations on pages 58 and 60. Willems inclusion hints at the story’s origin. For the entire tale, watch the video (below) and read the author and illustrator notes.
I sincerely hope Diva and Flea’s story will become a series. Surely, there are tales to tell of the two flȃneur-ing about Paris, or of the two friends inside 11 avenue Le Play. Maybe the two will flȃneur about other cities of the world. Anything to bring back these two wonderfully fantastic (amazing, endearing, classic) characters. At the very least, Mo Willems should write more chapter books. The Story of Diva and Flea is his first.
There are so many reason to get The Story of Diva and Flea. The atmosphere of Paris is enchanting; the illustrations are amazing (there’s that word again); but mostly, Diva and Flea is a classic friendship story that will be a favorite for years to come. Kids will re-read—or, if younger, asked to be read—The Story of Diva and Flea over-and-over again. The Mo Willems–Tony DiTerlizzi story of friendship and personal growth is nothing short of classically charming.
THE STORY OF DIVA AND FLEA. Text copyright © 2015 by Mo Willems. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Tony DiTerlizzi. Published 2015 by Hyperion Books for Children, New York, NY.
Find The Story of Diva and Flea on Goodreads HERE.
Meet the author, Mo Willems, at his website: http://mowillemsstuff.blogspot.com/
Meet the illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi, at his website: http://diterlizzi.com/
Find more books at the Hyperion Books for Children website: http://books.disney.com/
. . Hyperion Books for Children is an imprint of Disney.
School Library Journal
Also by Mo Willems
Waiting Is Not Easy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
My New Friend Is So Fun! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Who Is That, Cat the Cat? (Cat the Cat Mini)
. . —and many more
Also by Tony DiTerlizzi
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Star Wars The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight (with Ralph McQuarrie)
The Battle for WondLa (WondLa series Book 3)
. . —and many more
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
THE STORY OF DIVA AND FLEA by Mo Willems. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Tony DiTerlizzi – Disney-Hyperion
Full Disclosure: The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems & Tony DiTerlizzi, and received from Hyperion Books for Children , (an imprint of Disney), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”