Written & Illustrated by Mark Teague
Beach Lane Books 9/17/2019
40 Pages Ages 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: First Steps, Humor, Animals, Growing Up
Mama bird thinks it’s time for Baby bird’s first flight, but Baby bird has other ideas in this humorous wordless picture book from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Mark Teague.
It’s a big day up in the tree that Mama bird shares with her baby. Mama bird thinks Baby bird is finally ready to leave the nest and learn to fly so he can migrate south with the rest of their flock. But Baby bird isn’t so sure. Can’t his mother keep bringing him worms in their nest? Can’t he migrate in a hot air balloon instead? Or perhaps a car?
This silly wordless picture book will keep young readers giggling as Baby bird figures out that he must flap his wings and learn to fly—whether her he likes it or not! (from press release)
As Mama bird feeds her newborn baby worms, we watch as Baby bird grows from an infant into a flight-capable young robin.
Why I like this book
As Mama feeds her Baby worms, we see the progression of Baby bird from a fuzzy newborn to the flight-ready, worm-focused robin it is throughout the story. That’s just the first spread in this wildly inventive story about growing up and leaving the nest. Mama bird makes it clear, if Baby wants any more worms, it must first fly.
Baby responds with a terrible temper tantrum . . . then accidentally falls out of the nest. Mama swoops down to Baby, who is finally quiet, and tells it to fly back to the nest. Baby bird suggests Mama fly back and he’ll hitch a ride on her back—with the worm she dropped held safely in his mouth. Mama tells Baby he must learn to fly in order to migrate with their flock.
With thought bubbles, we get an idea of what the two birds are saying; no words needed. Colorful illustrations fill the bubbles. Some are specific, like the flock flying south, while others leave enough room for children’s own imagination to take flight.
Clearly, Baby bird does not want to fly. He offers Mama several alternatives from a hot air balloon to super hero capes (this seems like flying, but kids will get a BIG hoot out of Super Baby Bird). Mama gives Baby a stern look, then informs Baby they must fly to Florida. (One of the few words used.) The flock is in the background flying in a ‘V’ formation.
Baby has more alternatives to flying, each one giving Baby exponentially more giggles. From riding bicycles to driving a red convertible, and jumping into Florida on a Pogo stick, Baby falls to the ground, crying tears of laughter. Baby opens its wings and asks Mama which one she prefers. Mama raises one finger to the sky and very adamantly says, “Fly!!!”
Teague’s picture book will have kids from one to ninety-two chuckling, and chortling, hooting and howling—or simply laughing. The illustrations are expressive, especially Baby bird. From his anger at Mama holding his meal hostage, his temper tantrum, his no-fly alternative laughing and confidence, and his final fit, which launches his flying life, Baby has become an artists (and readers), dream.
For me, and hopefully hundreds of thousands of children, Fly! is a brilliant picture book. You cannot pick up this book and not smile. Children will have many ways for Baby bird to get to Florida without flying. And many a conversation between parent (reader) and children will happen, thanks to Fly! What more can you ask of a children’s book?
My recommendation is . . . get your copy, uh, your child’s copy of Fly! before they’ve all flown` off store shelves. Fly! is perfect for young children and any child, of any age, making a transition from an old nest to a new nest.
All bubbles are my favorite, but I’ll mention only two. The “ferocious” white Pitbull kissing Baby bird and Baby’s calm exterior, as it states this to Mama bird, is one. The other is the bubble where Baby is the engineer of a train headed for Florida and, in response, Mama’s one wing slap to her forehead, as she wonders, “Why me.” or “Why my kid” or possibly “That kid gives me a headache.” Baby holds its stomach, tears flowing, and laughing so hard as to call it a guffaw.
Illustrations: Rendered in acrylics.
Available at Amazon (see “Look Inside” on cover image to see a few inside spreads. GO! Now!)
FLY! Text Copyright © 2019 by Mark Teague. Published by Beach Lane Books / Simon & Schuster Children’s Division, New York, NY.
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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