THE BOY WHO COULD FLY WITHOUT A MOTOR by Theodore Taylor

THE BOY WHO COULD FLY WITHOUT A MOTOR

Age Range: 8 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

It’s 1935 and Jon Jeffers is terribly lonely. He lives with his mother and father, who is a lighthouse keeper on a tiny island off the coast of San Francisco; his only friend is his dog, Smacks. If only he could fly, he could escape the forsaken pile of rocks and ghosts of shipwrecked sailors said to haunt the place. When a mysterious magician appears on the beach, he consents to teach Jon to fly if he swears to keep the secret of how to concentrate brain cells to levitate. But his flying gets out of control when the crew on a fishing trawler spots Jon and think he’s a space alien. That leads to an investigation by the Coast Guard and ultimately sends Jon to the White House, where he proves to President Roosevelt, Eleanor, and the press that he can indeed fly. But he won’t reveal how because if he breaks his oath not to tell, he risks being boiled in dragon’s bile or having his toes nailed to a shark’s back. Using telepathy, Jon desperately summons the magician, who cures him, in more ways than one. Despite the appealing, small page size and the spacious layout and type, the beginning is tedious, the plot needs humor, and the tone smacks of a dime novel. The intriguing title suggests a fascinating story and while the premise has the right elements, the writing lacks flow and dynamics (aero or otherwise). The few touches of cleverness can’t rescue the message, “Be careful what you wish for.” It doesn’t fly. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-15-216529-0
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2002




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