cover image When You Need Wings

When You Need Wings

Lita Judge. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3755-5

On this book’s wordless opening pages, a girl who waves goodbye to one parent and walks hand-in-hand with another caretaker is palpably apprehensive, evidenced by her expressive face and body language. As the two arrive at Little Dreamers Preschool, a comforting, unseen narrator acknowledges the child’s emotions (“you are afraid,/ and you wish you could just disappear”) and offers a fanciful solution: “shut your eyes and listen./ Do you hear it?/... That is the sound of your very own wings,/ beating within.” In swirling, dreamlike pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, Judge (Homes in the Wild) reveals the child floating through the air, guided by white birds, while the voice advises her to use those wings “to fly far away,/ if you need to today,/ to find treasures/ that live inside/ your mind.” The child lands in a sunlit forest and frolics with “bravehearted” new animal friends before reappearing at school, where her peers sport clothing featuring images of the forest creatures. Judge’s visual jewel is an exquisite close-up of the reassured girl’s face, in which she confidently locks eyes with the reader. A tender tale about coping with first-day jitters. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (Mar.) [/em]