Max encourages Marla to fly by building a kite.
One day Max, an upbeat young child, announces to pal Marla, a little barn owl, they will build a kite to “fly high up in the sky.” Max labors enthusiastically on the kite, but Marla barely participates. “Flying is not her favorite thing.” After adding a sketched self-portrait to the kite, Max takes Marla outside and instructs her to fly high with their kite beside her, as if they were flying together. When Marla ignores Max’s flight instructions, the child realizes she’s afraid and assures her owls were born to fly. Marla’s having none of it. The next day Max coaxes Marla to help rake fallen leaves and find their now-missing kite. Marla, however, stands behind a tree—and on the kite—until a sudden wind sweeps both her and the kite skyward, where she notices Max’s picture, hears her friend encouraging her, and reacts as she was born to. Simple, gently humorous watercolor-and-ink illustrations rendered with expressive black outlines and fluid, pale color washes track Max’s supportive efforts to help Marla overcome her fear of flying in close-up vignettes as well as expansive aerial spreads. Max and Marla’s facial expressions and body language deftly reveal their status as “best friends.” Max is white and appears to live alone with Marla but no parents.
An uplifting tale about overcoming fear. (Picture book. 3-7)