cover image Ready to Soar

Ready to Soar

Cori Doerrfeld. Dial, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5936-9672-9

“Everybody’s a critic” the saying goes, and young Riley, this book’s pale-skinned child protagonist, discovers that it’s all too true. Decked out in a jaunty aviator’s hat and scarf, and having assiduously followed instructions for creating a paper airplane, Riley is just about to send it soaring (“3... 2... 1...”) when a bald eagle zooms in. “STOP!” it shouts, “I rule the sky because I’m large and in change. Trust me, it needs to be bigger!” Riley dutifully follows the advice, only to have other imposing avian species, all rendered in digital chalk on mostly white backgrounds, insist that the plane be “fancier,” “faster,” and so forth. Riley is left thoroughly discombobulated and ready to head in a new direction when yet another bird appears. But this one offers encouragement instead of critique: “I think there’s nothing cooler than celebrating when someone else takes off!” This time, the countdown results in not only a successful flight but a lovely new friendship. Employing narrative and visual rhythms similar to The Rabbit Listened, Doerrfeld once again considers the process of finding one’s way, only this time, explores heeding voices—inner and otherwise—that say, “WOO! You got this.” Ages 3–5. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Mar.)