cover image Fly, Eagle, Fly: An African Tale

Fly, Eagle, Fly: An African Tale

Christopher Gregorowski. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $18.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82398-5

A favorite African fable, attributed to the Ghanaian educator Aggrey of Africa, soars in this superb inspirational picture book set in the Transkei region of South Africa. An African man discovers an abandoned, newly hatched eaglet and brings it back to his village, where he raises it among the chickens. Knowing no other life, the eagle clucks, pecks and stays on the ground just like the chickens, until a visitor to the village tries to set things right. With determination, the visitor insists that the eagle be restored to its birthright: ""You belong not to the earth, but to the sky. Fly, eagle, fly!"" Daly's airy, dusty-hued watercolors celebrate both the serene beauty of a South African landscape and the gentle, humming rhythm of village life. Gregorowski, an Anglican priest, once worked in the Transkei; in an endnote, he explains the tale's religious and political significance and poignantly reveals that he retold this tale many years ago for his terminally ill daughter (""I wanted her to understand that we are all born to be eagles who are lifted up with the might of the Spirit""). A preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu distills the book's powerful and peaceful spirituality. Ages 5-9. (Jan.)