Tone and artwork mix beautifully in this endearing tale about overcoming a debilitating fear.
Sporting a jaunty scarf, a little yellow bird named Hugo lives on the grounds of a park in Paris. One day, Lulu, a fellow bird, notices him building a sculpture of the Eiffel Tower and offers to take him there. Hugo is able to delay her without confessing his fear of flight, suggesting a tour, a snack and other activities. It is only when he realizes that his fear may limit not just his dreams, but also his friendships that he swallows his pride and asks for help. The front endpapers depicting Hugo’s solo amusements are neatly complemented by the back endpapers, which feature Hugo and Lulu together. The book charms from the start, but Dominguez excels with her slow revelation of Hugo’s qualms. When readers first meet Hugo, his on-the-ground life appears to be one of choice, not one forced by fear, so this neatly introduces children to the truth that people find ways to hide their fears out of shame. The tissue-and-ink artwork presents surprising textures and rich colors, certain to make a Parisian out of any willing reader.
A story that could have been pinned to the ground by didacticism instead soars. (Picture book. 4-8)