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MY DAD’S A BIRDMAN by David Almond


by David Almond & illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3667-8
Publisher: Candlewick

Almond aims at a younger audience than usual, but crafts a tale at least as emotionally complex as any of his heavier outings. Young Lizzie’s widowed dad has regressed back to childhood—to the point where she has to force him to eat breakfast, can’t get him out of pajamas and even frets about leaving him alone in the house while she’s at school. Worse, he’s constructed wings, taken to eating bugs and worms on the sly to get his weight down and entered the Great Human Bird Competition in order to “make me mark at last.” Building on this depressing premise, the author unexpectedly fashions a buoyant story in which “It doesn’t matter if we fly or if we fall. We’ve got each other. We’re doing it together. That’s all that matters.” The characters sport silly names like Doreen Doody and Mr. Poop, and Dunbar’s colored illustrations, which appear on nearly every spread, evoke Quentin Blake. Readers will definitely come away with mixed feelings—not necessarily a bad thing, to be sure. (Fiction. 10-12)