THE WINGS OF COURAGE by George Sand

THE WINGS OF COURAGE

by , adapted by
Age Range: 11 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

Written in 1873 and most recently appearing in print in English in the 1930s, this tale of a lame, timorous lad who grows out of his “wings of fear” makes a theatrical coming-of-age story, with fantasy elements and antique, but not cloying, sentiments stirred in. Thought to be a simpleton because of his weak leg and timid nature, Clopinet, 11, is apprenticed to a malodorous tailor, a hunchback known as “Pull-To-The-Left” because he is left-handed. Then Clopinet escapes to a cave on the Normandy coast where he can watch the birds, always his favorite occupation. So great is his longing to fly that in moments of extreme feeling or danger he grows wings; he uses them to rescue the feared tailor from drowning, and loses them thereafter until the very end of his life. The self-reliance he learns while living alone takes him through years as a traveler, taxidermist (working only on birds killed by others), and, at last, heir to a childless local baron. Shifting the emphasis from character to plot, Wersba (Whistle Me Home, 1997, etc) reworks Margaret Bloom’s 1930 translation (Tales of a Grandmother), preserving the structure and some dialogue but trimming longwinded speeches, minor scenes, and Clopinet’s bird observations, tightening the prose, and reducing Pull-To-The-Left’s presence. The result is still a leisurely, formally told story, but patient readers will be as absorbed by Clopinet’s gentle spirit and profound delight in the natural world as by his occasional transformations. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8076-1434-3
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Braziller
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1998




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