cover image Child of the Air

Child of the Air

Grace Chetwin. Bradbury Press, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-718317-7

Orphans Myl and Brev find themselves thrust into the cruel and ugly world of slave labor when their kindly old grandfather Gven dies. Set on an alien planet, the story revolves around the children's gift for flight. As they learn to fly, Myl and Brev must run away from a handful of exploitative masters and learn that they are not freaks but members of a race of flying humans. Somewhat short on character development, the novel offers plenty of suspense and an involved plot line as Myl and Brev make their way to sanctuary. The atmosphere of social oppression calls to mind Joan Aiken's alternate-Victorian-era novels ( The Cuckoo Tree , Dido and Pa , etc.), and Chetwin's presentation of the children's successful struggle within the social gloom cannot fail to entertain, although the novel's length may be daunting to some middle-grade readers. Ages 9-14. (Apr.)