Helicopter moms have not fared well in print—until now.
The parent starring in this light-hearted saga is nurturing a timid fledgling. When the autumnal leaves start to fall, young George still has not tested his wings. Cognizant of both the seasonal pull to head south and her son’s fear of flying, the mother bird calmly opts to address his more immediate need—hunger. In the instant that she is off foraging, however, the wind lifts the nest out of the tree, and George appears exhilarated by the seemingly secure flight. The tension of the separation is short-lived, as mama bird quickly responds, although all she can do is fly nearby, shouting advice as the nest is transported by a car, a barge and a load of lumber. Ultimately, a crisis with a cat leads to the nest’s destruction. James employs sequential panels and single-page compositions until the climax, when a double-spread depicts the triumphant learner. Fluid lines and breezy watercolor washes complement the low-key parenting style: This mama hovers patiently, mixing admonishment with encouragement. George, for his part, manages to listen, communicate his feelings and keep trying.
These unflappable characters provide likable, positive role models for readers young and old, who may then enjoy sharing Mordicai Gerstein’s Leaving the Nest (2007), in which several species spread their wings. (Picture book. 3-5)