COURAGE TO FLY by Troon Harrison


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 9
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A purposeful tale of a shy “island” child in the big city who emerges from her shell after caring for an injured bird. Sad, homesick, and intimidated by the tall buildings around her, Meg holes up in her room when she’s not at school. Until, that is, she brings home a swallow she’s found lying in the snow, and instead of trying to keep it in a box until spring, follows the advice of her mother and an old Chinese man, and sets it free. Huang (Buddha in the Garden, not reviewed, etc.) depicts the pigtailed protagonist and those around her in a realistic style; a muted palette gives the art a somber tone overall, but Meg and others make enough eye contact with viewers to create an inviting intimacy. Though the writing is so laced with metaphors and double meanings that even the old man’s tai-chi positions carry direct significance—“This move is called Swallow Skims Water . . . and this one is Swallows Penetrate Clouds. There are no clouds and no lakes inside a box,” he tells Meg—children who are themselves lonely new arrivals, seeing her escape from a self-imposed isolation, may be encouraged to do likewise. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-88995-273-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Red Deer Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2003


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