The Boy Who Could Fly

James Norcliffe, Author
James Norcliffe, Egmont USA, $15.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60684-084-9
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
Library Binding - 320 pages - 978-1-60684-097-9
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Lonely Michael is trapped in a home for orphans and "rejects," so when a winged boy appears and offers to teach Michael to fly away, Michael (literally) leaps at the chance. But trading places with the so-called "loblolly boy" means becoming invisible to all but a few, including menacing Collectors, Researchers, Investigators, etc., who would imprison him. Michael meets two sisters who can see him, but runs afoul of an obsessed Collector, too. Now he must try to stay alive, keep his friends from harm, and somehow get his old life back. In New Zealand author/poet Norcliffe's first children's book published in the U.S., he creates suspense not only by throwing Michael into danger but also by parsing subtler definitions of "invisibility" and the tenuous nature of identity—issues young readers face even if they don't have wings. The story has whimsical moments as well—the scene of the three children "exchanging" being loblolly boys back and forth is delightful—and Michael comes up with ingenious solutions, despite his self-doubt. In the end, friendship proves the best flight. Ages 10–up. (July)
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