cover image Fly!


Mark Teague. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5128-5

Many picture books feature young birds who refuse to fly, but Teague (Felipe and Claudette) takes the genre to new heights with this story. Wordless it may be, but there’s plenty of dialogue between the story’s petulant robin fledging and its relatively patient mother, all conveyed via balloons filled with spot illustrations. The humor arises from the tension between Teague’s elegant, substantial-looking acrylic images and the parent-offspring bickering that readers can hear instantly and vividly in their minds. When the mom communicates to her child that all birds fly, her pictorial balloon suggests a bevy of graceful, soaring species. The child’s unflappable response? A series of illustrations show it laughingly opting instead for aerial transit via hot air balloon, hang glider, plane, and superhero cape. Countering the mother’s suggestion that the autumn migration will require flight, the wee bird invokes the idea of a road trip via bicycle, skateboard, or red convertible. Finally, the baby bird does fly—it takes a reminder that becoming an owl’s dinner is a real possibility—and the story ends with a reconciliatory cuddle that needs no further elaboration. Teague proves that a picture can be worth a thousand words—and almost as many laughs. Ages up to 8. [em](Sept.) [/em]