cover image Captain Sky Blue

Captain Sky Blue

Richard Egielski, Scholastic/di Capua, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-21342-4

Egielski (Gumption!) is in top form in this story that begins on Christmas day and ends one year later, careening wildly in between. From start to finish, it has the feel of an old-fashioned adventure. On Christmas morning, Jack receives Captain Sky Blue and, with the toy's help, assembles a model plane. One day, the wind blows Jack's hat away, and Sky zooms off to retrieve it. Lightning strikes and his plane breaks up, plunging the pilot into a fraught journey that involves a humpback whale, Santa's underwater workshop, and a tumultuous ride on that famed sleigh. Egielski's boldly outlined artwork lends the story a cinematic scope—raindrops are nearly as big as Sky's forearm as lightning tears his plane apart, and in a later scene the whale scrunches up on the left page to blast the tiny pilot out its blowhole into open white space. Airplane-obsessed readers will be thrilled with the aeronautical jargon Sky uses throughout—"We've hit the goo! Allow me to pilot this bird!" he shouts at Santa, as the sleigh is threatened by a wild storm. "Bravo Zulu," indeed. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)