In this Canadian picture book, Zora, a small brown dog, is determined to fly.
When Zora stares at the squirrel that yaks at her from the fence and chases it, she isn’t fast enough to catch it. Again. But she knows that if only she could fly, she would succeed. Even as Tully, a cat lounging on a tree branch, informs Zora quellingly that “dogs can’t fly,” Zora, nonetheless, tries. She leaps—and falls; jumps on a teeter-totter vacated by two children—and falls. She splays on the ground, imitating the shadow of an airplane flying overhead, whispering, “Up! Up! Up!!” but she still doesn’t fly. Disheartened, Zora heads off to nap when she is interrupted by a cry for help and sees Tully, hanging perilously from the branch (illustratively shown in an impressive angled overhead view that visually emphasizes the height and the danger). “Zora’s everything tingled!” She leaps high for Tully, catching her. Stinson’s story has endearing, unexpected details and is a heartwarming affirmation of the powers of aspiration and determination. Scott’s images show a sophisticated color sense that creates depth and atmosphere with their push/pull of warms and cools, and his portrayal of Zora gives her a remarkable degree of movement and expression. His varied viewer perspectives, too, are noteworthy.
A clever and endearing story, expertly illustrated, with an affirming message. (Picture book. 3-8)