cover image The Boy with Paper Wings

The Boy with Paper Wings

Susan Lowell. Milkweed Editions, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57131-605-9

Fiction and how-to directions on paper-folding make an odd coupling in this curious hybrid. Sick with a fever, 11-year-old Paul makes a plane from origami paper (instructions for making the plane are incorporated into the text). When it flies into his closet, the boy retrieves it, only to find himself in the middle of a battlefield that is an enlarged version of his homemade war diorama. Paul makes friends with one of the good soldiers and encounters a Barbie doll come-to-life (which his sister has presumably left in his room). Assuring her that ""After this, they'll call you Mighty Power Barbie or something,"" Paul persuades Barbie to throw a bomb at the bad guys. Subsequently, other items Paul fashions from folded paper deliver him into-and often out of-similarly fantastic encounters (Paul flies on the back of an albatross, swims with a humpback whale, battles a paper wolf and befriends talking geometric shapes on the Planet X). Though Lowell (I Am Lavinia Cummings) occasionally interjects some genuinely funny lines, for the most part this is a silly, insignificant tale, with a dark, disturbing undercurrent of violence. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)