When You Need Wings

Atheneum. Mar. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534437555.
PreS-Gr 3–There are times as a child and even as an adult when you feel a little overwhelmed and you just need to go off on your own. Sometimes removing yourself physically isn’t possible, but escaping into your imagination is always a welcome option. Our protagonist leaves her warm, safe home with her preoccupied father to head to her busy preschool, where there is always some chaos. She uncertainly hugs her dad goodbye and begins to imagine flying away to a magical, safe place. The animals there make her laugh and dance and take her troubles away. Once her bravery returns, she returns to the present and begins to plunge into the tumult of play on the playground. Imagination is such an important, potentially soothing part of childhood. In this story, all of the animals she imagines come from the schoolyard she is standing in. From hats to T-shirts, the animals are there and incorporated into her imaginings. Imagination is front and center in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and a double-page spread of our little one strutting with a lion is reminiscent of that famous story. Judge’s book will be a lovely jumping-off point to explore imagination in art, storytelling, and many other ways. Her soft watercolors perfectly illustrate the calming lure of the imagination.
VERDICT This is an ideal book for elementary libraries looking to encourage imagination among children.

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