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FLY FREE! by Roseanne Thong


by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Eujin Kim Neilan

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59078-550-8
Publisher: Boyds Mills

At the gates of the Buddhist temple, Mai sees a cage full of sparrows for sale. Without the money to buy and release them, she offers to feed them. Thu, another little girl, helps and takes heed of Mai’s whispered “Fly, free, fly free, / in the sky so blue. / When you do a good deed, / it will come back to you.” Thu later gives her beautiful red slippers to another little girl with a cut foot. The “wheel of kindness” continues to turn, with various characters doing something good for someone else until a father, grateful that his son has recovered from illness, approaches the temple to pray, sees and purchases the cage and, to Mai’s joy, sets the sparrows free. Buddhist tradition and belief in reincarnation reflects the idea that one’s actions, good or bad, affect one’s rebirth. The smoothly written circular narrative with its reverent message is authenticated by Neilan’s muted watercolors, which are rendered on light tan board and softly depict a Vietnamese countryside peopled by folk wearing conical hats and traditional dress. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)