cover image Flight School

Flight School

Lita Judge. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8177-0

Some are born to run; little Penguin believes he was “hatched to fly.” That’s why he’s come all the way from the South Pole (via a bright red motorboat) to attend a tropical shoreline flight school run for birds by birds. “I have the soul of an eagle,” he announces to the skeptical staff. Penguin soon discovers that zoology is destiny, no matter how nifty his red aviator goggles or how eager his new friends are to help get him aloft, which they manage to do, albeit momentarily, thanks to some engineering worthy of MacGyver. Up until the very final pages—in which Penguin returns to the flight school accompanied by a much larger friend whose aerodynamic potential is similarly problematic—the action has the tight comic pacing of a classic cartoon, one with heart to match Penguin’s own. Judge (Red Hat), working in watercolor and pencil, takes her hero into the sun-bleached sky and into the drink (oops) with aplomb, while her finely delineated feathered cast does its endearing best to ignore the obvious. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)