“A story of a picturesque childhood friendship challenged by a family’s move fails to find its wings.”
Mia and Ben are sweet, young friends who share an interest in many things, but above all else, in airplanes. However, their picturesque friendship is challenged when Ben’s family moves from the area and the friends become separated by a literal ocean of distance. Lonely and missing her friend, Mia destroys her plane, only to dream of it being repaired and leading her to meet Ben again. The next morning, a package arrives from Ben, who has sent a model plane and a note pleading for Mia to help him because “no one can make wings like you!” Suddenly Mia realizes that their interests can continue to keep them connected, even when they’re miles apart. Because “now not even an ocean could keep them apart.” The painted illustrations add to the picturesque, nostalgic tone of childhood friendship, and while the story excels in showing friendship based in physical hobbies and interests (as opposed to digital activities), it struggles with its story development. Mia’s destructive tantrum during which she breaks her plane goes unaddressed, and the dream sequence—which doesn’t initially appear to be a dream—is a little confusing as the plane is once again fixed. While it sets up a story with lots of potential—a cute friendship, sweet illustrations, and an intriguing model airplane hobby—the story fails to achieve maximum altitude.
Even though Mia and Ben are separated by distance, they maintain their friendship through correspondence. Is there someone to whom your young reader could write and send a letter or package?
In a moment of feeling lonely, hurt, and angry, Mia breaks her plane. Talk with your child about how she might have regretted that decision and what could be better ways to express and manage strong emotions.
Richard Jones has more than 20 years of experience in the creative arts with a PhD in graphic communication. In his spare time, Richard enjoys bobbing about in the sea, feeding the cat, and licorice. He lives in England.
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March 1, 2020
The illustrations were rendered in paint and edited in Adobe Photoshop.