cover image Jacob’s Fantastic Flight

Jacob’s Fantastic Flight

Philip Waechter, trans. from the German by Elisabeth Lauffer. Blue Dot Kids, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-73312-126-2

Ever since babyhood, Jacob has been able to fly: he zooms into the sky in an orange onesie as his parents watch in anxious wonder. But they adjust, and a few years later they agree to let Jacob fly on his own to the family’s vacation destination. This journey, depicted in fine-lined, softly washed ink and crayon drawings reminiscent of R.O. Blechman, is every kid’s dream of independence and community. Jacob meets up with a flock of 83 birds (numeric specificity is one of the book’s sweet running jokes). “They traveled great distances, took leisurely breaks, and had lots of pleasant conversations. They chatted and chirped, fed and frolicked,” and at one point form a giant fish in the sky to salute a fisherman below. When one member of the flock is captured by a “notorious bird-catcher,” Jacob leads the rescue and is feted as a hero in a marvelously imagined pond party that “birds came from far and wide” to attend. German creator Waechter’s assured, Roald Dahl-leaning storytelling, rendered in a delightful to read translation, offers a whimsical flight of fancy to readers feeling wanderlust. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)