WINGS by Bill Brittain


Age Range: 9 - 12
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 From the author of The Wish Giver (Newbery Honor, 1984) and other stories that blend lively humor with dark magic, a grim fable about a seventh grader whose wings cause him more anguish than joy. Though Ian has never caused trouble, his parents have neglected him while pampering his accomplished sister Diane. Even when fierce pain in his shoulders mystifies the family doctor, their response is annoyance, not sympathy. When Ian's huge, batlike wings emerge, they're horrified: Dad's sure the ``freak'' will spoil his new political career. Once the secret leaks out, Ian tries school but is cruelly teased; only six-fingered pariah Anita is concerned about his plight. She and her mother wisk Ian to their primitive mountaintop home and suggest that he try to fly--which he does; it's a grand experience. Meanwhile, Dad has found a surgeon to amputate; he and Mom tearfully divulge feeble reasons for their callousness (Diane was a sickly baby, and overprotection became a bad habit; Grandpa forced Dad to be a banker: running for mayor is the first thing he's ever done on his own). Reluctantly, Ian agrees to part with his beloved wings. It's true that wings would be an inconvenience, and Brittain imagines their logistical consequences with skill. But Ian's persecution by his family and classmates is disagreeably overdrawn, while the gun Anita and her mom use to clinch arguments with importunate reporters adds a gratuitously jarring note. An aggressively unfunny fantasy, depressing with or without its subtext--which is sure to elude children. (Fiction. 9-12)*justify no*

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-020648-9
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991