“A lovely meditative and imaginative journey of a child finding calm in the midst of anxiety or fear.”
With a substantial section of the story starting in the beginning endpapers, Judge’s illustrations show the apprehension and anxiety of a young girl hesitantly leaving her house with her father and waving goodbye to her mother. Her dad seems somewhat distracted by his cell phone (a gentle reprimand on parents being distracted from addressing a child’s emotional needs) as he walks hand in hand with his daughter to her appropriately-named “Little Dreamers Preschool.” At this point, the text joins in to amplify the story, sharing how when she’s surrounded by loud sounds, feeling afraid, and wanting to disappear, she closes her eyes and listens to the beating within—not that of your heart, but “the sound of your very own wings.” With the illustrations mirroring this exercise, the girl laughs, dances, and finds animal friends—creatively connected to her schoolmates with animal details (a hat, backpack, or shirt)—that join her, one at a time and then in droves, as if also seeking calm, peace, and comfort. The illustrations perfectly capture the range of emotions and imagination throughout the story, carrying the flowing text through the wind that lifts her wings. Judge skillfully portrays a joyful and optimistic story of conquering fears.
Lita Judge is the author/illustrator of twenty-five fiction and nonfiction books, including Mary’s Monster, a YA novel about Mary Shelley and the creation of Frankenstein. Her picture books include Flight School, Born in the Wild, Red Sled, Hoot and Peep, and One Thousand Tracings. Lita worked as a geologist and paleontologist before turning to a life of creating art. A childhood spent with eagles, owls, and other animals also inspires her work. When not painting or writing, Lita loves riding her electric bike to far off places, or backpacking through Europe with sketchbook in hand. She lives in Peterborough, NH.
For Puma, who gave me wings. And thank you to Emma Ledbetter, Ann Bobco, Reka Simonsen, and Sonia Chaghatzbanian.
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The text for this book was set in Adobe Caslon Pro.
The illustrations for this book were rendered in pencil and watercolor.