Author: Baker-Smith, Grahame
When a father who dreams of flying goes off to war and does not return, his son decides to make the dream come true.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 2.60
Points: .5 Quiz: 157314
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/13)
School Library Journal (04/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (04/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2013 In this vivid picture-book fancy, a boy lives in an isolated house on a rocky outcrop into the sea, where his father is devoted and loving—except when he is possessed with the dream of flying and labors in his workshop to find a way to the sky (“Day and night, he sewed and stitched and sawed and hammered and trimmed the feathers of a thousand hopeful wings”). When the boy becomes a man himself, he too is drawn by the dream of flight and actually takes off into the air (“In the vast blue sky, I felt my father with me”). When he has his own son, he wonders if his father’s dream will visit the child as well. This is a story about dreams and visions, steeped in poetry, overlaced with the Icarus myth, and sprinkled with a touch of Freudian competitiveness. The story, unfortunately, is more lyrical than logical: the father’s flying dreams seem like family-destroying madness, but the son’s easy achievement of his father’s vision makes flying a cheerful everyday affair; it’s a confusingly inconsistent treatment, and not clear what dreaming there is left to do for the new baby boy. Mostly, though, this is a visual experience: Baker-Smith’s digitally created illustrations draw on painterly techniques and photography to create a fantastically touched reality. Muted blues and taupes predominate in images of life at the barren sea’s edge, and the lacy golden intricacy of the wings (with a touch of steampunk in their shimmering gears) bring a notable delicacy to the otherwise cool and unforgiving realm. While the story never really takes off, this could be an interesting pairing with an Icarus retelling, and its dreamy art will draw visually attuned youngsters. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2013 Gr 3–5—The narrator reminisces about his father's dream to make a flying machine. The man works ceaselessly on the project without success, stopping to play with his son only when the longing to "claim the sky" abates periodically. That longing is silenced forever, however, when the father goes off to war and never returns. Years pass, and the son "[takes] up the old wings" left by his father and does succeed, soaring into the "vast blue sky" where he feels his father's presence. Eventually, he shares his dream with his own son. The digitally rendered illustrations offer great variety as they enrich the brief text. There are single pages and spreads, framed half sheets, and snapshotlike vignettes. The lacy filigree and feathers of the father's flying machine seem as elusive as his dream. The family's home stands high on a cliff overlooking the immense sea, and varying shades of blue throughout echo father's and son's longing for the sky. There are sepia tones as well and grays that eventually morph almost to black as father sets off to war. One striking illustration depicts the winged, laurel-wreathed father atop a column ready to soar much like Daedalus of old, a Greek temple in the background. This evocative story will surely elicit discussions about having dreams and the persistence necessary to accomplish difficult goals.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.