The Story of Diva and Flea

The Story of Diva and Flea
Written by Mo Willems, Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

Publisher’s Summary:
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 flâneurs 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.

Primary Source Pairing:
Diva is a small dog, smaller than a foot, who lives at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris. Flea is a cat, a flâneur, who explores the city of Paris. This is the story of how Diva and Flea become friends, which is the greatest and best adventure of their lives. For this primary source pairing, invite students to analyze an image of the Eiffel Tower in 1900. In the book Flea describes the Tower as “a giant tower that can cut a cloud in half.” Encourage students to compare and contrast the illustration of Diva and Flea at the Eiffel Tower (pages 34-35) to the primary source image.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • How does this primary source image of the Eiffel Tower compare to the illustration in the book showing Diva and Flea visiting it?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Eiffel Tower, full-view, looking toward the Palais du Trocadéro, Paris, France: Library of Congress

Additional Resource:
Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi talk about the collaborative process of making The Story of Diva and Flea: YouTube