WENNY HAS WINGS by Janet Lee Carey


Age Range: 8 - 12
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A gentle epistolary novel requiring at least three hankies. Eleven-year-old Will writes to his seven-year-old sister Wenny. A truck hit them both on their way to a craft store, and Wenny was killed. Will remembers a dark tunnel and a bright warm light; he remembers seeing his little sister fly past him into that light. Through months of healing his broken parts, Will writes to Wenny about how much he misses her; about how angry he is that she left them; about how pinched and cold his father and his pregnant mother are; and how there is no light or air around them, and no words for him. The tropes of boyhood—family pets, toy action figures, a tree house, a spitting contest, and, above all, the creek tunnel the kids call “the tunnel of death”—function almost as sacraments. Will’s dad moves out for a while, Will and his mother try to re-make Wenny’s room for the new baby, Will finds a way to celebrate Wenny’s birthday. His grief comes in almost textbook steps, but Carey’s (Molly’s Fire, 2000) sweet and pointed language saves it from mawkishness, illuminating those steps vividly. Like Susan Katz’s Snowdrops for Cousin Ruth (1998), it allows a heartrending glimpse into what happens in a family when a child dies. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84294-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2002


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