A child in a wheelchair helps an injured bird and dreams of flying in this wordless picture book.
Darmonkow’s (The Epic of Gabriel and Jibreel, 2019, etc.) work begins with a few pages of realistic paintings of a glowing city at night. Sparkly Christmas decor dots the scenery. Next, a bespectacled white child using a wheelchair finds an injured bird on the sidewalk. The kid takes the white bird home, tends to its wounds, and provides food and water. With the bandaged bird nestled in bed, the child dreams of flying out the window, using a pair of crutches as wings. High in the sky over the shimmering metropolis, the kid discards the crutches and encounters Santa Claus in his sleigh. Then, the story abruptly ends. Although the author’s intent of showing the power of a child’s imagination is evident, the tale would have benefited from a clearer plot. But Darmonkow’s photograph-like illustrations are emotive. They offer vivid details that kids will recognize and enjoy, such as a Peter Pan painting hanging on the wall in the background of one image. Many elements here are open to interpretation, including the child’s backstory. Still, the overarching, worthy message celebrates the imagination, Christmas wishes, and the importance of treating all creatures with care and kindness.
An artistic, nicely illustrated Christmas tale that offers a valuable sentiment.