A rough-and-tumble little plane explores the world.
Zooming about, bright fuchsia and gray against jade-green sky, Little Plane is raring for adventure. Gomi perfectly encapsulates the plane’s essence with simple shapes and chunky black outlines and still manages to make Little Plane look light and airy. Like most youngsters, Little Plane encounters turbulence while playing, getting dirty and bouncing back from several failed attempts at landing atop trees or on a slick, muddy mountain. This initial narrative, of getting messy and resiliently getting up after failing, is ideal for toddlers, especially with the narrator and warmly personified trees, buildings, and rocks watching over and admonishing the aircraft to “be careful” or to “try again.” Unfortunately, the narrative veers away from this smooth flight path when the plane spots a cream-colored building with a cavernous gaping mouth and ponders entering. The narrator’s strangely ambivalent statement that “it’s up to you, little plane” isn’t especially reassuring, and it looks disconcertingly as though Little Plane is being eaten. As our hero emerges, mysteriously clean and ready to fly home, puzzled readers will wonder what happened—is there such a thing as a plane wash? Additionally, ending the story before the return to the safe embrace of a loved one makes it feel unfinished; his journey isn’t over yet.
Visually, there’s much to enjoy, but ultimately the narrative never quite soars. (Board book. 1-4)