These unflappable characters provide likable, positive role models for readers young and old, who may then enjoy sharing...

GEORGE FLIES SOUTH

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)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5724-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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