An intergenerational friendship produces a flying machine.
Emery’s head is in the clouds. He dreams of flying and constantly sketches airplane designs. While disapproving of flighty activities, Emery’s parents encourage him to make friends with elderly new neighbor Leon. On a surreptitious foray into Leon’s garden, Emery discovers the man owns supplies with which to construct his dream plane. Another day, having uncannily intuited Emery’s passion, Leon proffers a propeller. Subsequently, the pair forges a strong bond in which Leon, whose soaring imagination matches Emery’s, promotes his friend’s inventiveness. Over one summer, they build a successful flier, though not without mishaps. Leon disappears one day, leaving a note urging Emery to continue inventing. Emery’s selfless act of generosity at the end satisfyingly but poignantly concludes the tale. The child-appealing message is clear in this well-written, gracefully translated French import via Britain: Fly high. Alas, the quirky, colorful acrylic paintings are surprisingly static, and the faces of the characters, both white, are generally unexpressive. Emery, sporting an aviator’s white scarf, shorts, and dark boots, has button eyes and wind-swept hair. White-bearded Leon’s body is lean and lanky, and his hat resembles a propeller, amusingly emphasized in one illustration. Lots of white space and areas of solid colored backgrounds suggest openness, befitting the theme.
Imaginative youngsters who dream of flight or are of a similar fanciful bent will appreciate this ode to creativity. (Picture book. 4-8)