booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: This is a companion book to an art exhibit by Peter Greenaway, which was held at the Louvre in 1992. It's fitting for a book on an art exhibit that the writing is lovely, thoughtful and philosophical. Your opinion of the art will very depending on your taste of course, but, the comments on it truly spark some really fascinating thoughts for anyone winged. Much of the pictures don't seem like they really have anything to do with the subject, but, Greenaway is creative and the ideas he draws out of the paintings definitely make you think twice. Absolutely must have in any winged person's collection... if you can afford it.

Writing: The writing is wonderful, asking many interesting philosophical questions, while following a journey through art from the ground, to the sky, and then falling to the ground again. The writer treats the book as catalogue of philosophical flying instructions, containing secrets how we might fly, and presents this in a very serious way. There's also a lot of beautiful art to enjoy obviously.

From a winged person's perspective...: Of course, this book is all about the winged. The writer understands the longing for flying, how no machine will do, our offspring will not do... we must fly. He understands that false flying portrayals make us feel let down. Really, the book is all about that longing for flight, treated as a very serious thing. The "story" of the book, as much as it has a story, has a negative message about flight in the end, but it's such a beautiful journey and the negative message seems to be more about showing all the possibilities and angles that artists have treated flight, not making a judgment.

Trigger warnings: Graphic description of dead bird. Detached wings in a picture. Association of flight with negative pride, detailed descriptions of failing of flight.

More thoughts... )

Free Fall

May. 17th, 2011 04:17 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A beautiful picture story, this book has no words at all so it's up to the reader to decide what is happening. It's a lovely book with no bad messages, although the flying part is short and makes the book not very relevant to this theme.

Writing: No writing! The pictures are lovely though, great for children (and adults) to sit and stare at, finding all the little details and how they follow the main character from page to page.

From a winged person's perspective...: The birds in this book are the only winged people... the boy does fly for a short time, but, he is riding on a leaf-bird, more than flying. The page where the leaves turn into swans is very interesting to look at, and there are some beautiful drawings of swans on the next page (they're trumpeter swans if you're curious ^^), but, this book is not really about flying.

Trigger warnings: None.

More thoughts...: There isn't a rating for this book, because it isn't in the theme. Sometimes I review books like this: they don't meet the theme even though I had some information that says they do (usually, these are books that were tagged with "flight" or "wings" in a library system or on Librarything), so, I review them anyway just to let people know. It's a very nice book though, nothing wrong with it (and very beautiful swan pictures if you like that ^^) Good for any age, from tiny children to adults, because it's only pictures.
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Today, something special for you ^v^ A guest review of Charles deLint's Someplace to be Flying, by [personal profile] charcoalfeathers!

If you're interested in doing guest reviews too, please, let me know, I'm happy to put yours up ^^ I also accept any discussions of books that are on the theme if you want to write an essay about the book, deconstruction, compare two books, etc. I would like this to be not just book reviews, but a place where winged people and people with dreams of flight can discuss and explore fiction... so... if you have anything on topic... I'm happy to include it.

Short review: The corbae (corvid animal-people) and canids (canine animal-people) are playing out their ages-old disagreements once again, and this time the cauldron of creation is in the middle of it. In spite of some shortcomings, this is a satisfying read with a lot of really neat thoughts and stories about animal people and mythology.

Writing: I enjoyed his short stories first, and only moved on to his full length novels later; and it always feels a little to me like his novels are reaaallly drawn out short stories. In some ways, it's nice that it doesn't end so quickly. But other times, I get lost in all the plots going on. Perhaps that's just my lack of attention span these days. ^^; It's also neat to watch all the plot threads coming together over time for a finale.

But in general, his writing style is good and sort of blends to the background. Except for the "story teller" parts: these are fantastic, exceptional. You really feel like you're listening to someone telling a story around a campfire.

From a winged person's perspective...: This book is more of a fae/therian type of book than one about winged people per se, but I think there's something in here for everyone. deLint is always heavy on mythology, especially Native American mythology, and this book is no exception. Rather than birds, or winged people, the characters in this story are almost like fae with animal associations; most of them can shift between an animal form and a human form, and they have a lot of traits like their animals when they're in the latter.

So you could safely say that this book will appeal to corvid and canine therians quite a lot in that way. I think it would be hard for a winged person not to enjoy that aspect of it, too.

Though anyone who associates with cuckoo birds might come away a bit upset. ^^;

Trigger warnings: The main one that struck me was about crows dying and their bodies being mistreated. Someone who wants to be winged is abused. There's a decent amount of violence. Lots of talk about what it means to be sane or crazy, and some fairly intense descriptions of someone being institutionalized. Basically this is a really adult book: if you're worried about triggering something, tread lightly.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: For Jonathan Livingston Seagull, flying is the most important thing in life. Unlike to his kin, who think flying is only a tool. Armed with this philosophy, Jonathan makes some surprising discoveries about life... and beyond. This is an amazing philosophical story that is a slot similar to classic fables and allegories. On the lteral level, as well as philosophical metaphor, many winged people I think will enjoy it... it's about living in the way that is important to you even if it's not the custom, the spiritual things that follow from that, and much more.

Writing: I didn't really notice the writing in this book... I guess the sign of a good book, is when you focus on the story so much, you don't notice how the writing is like at all! As for the plot though, it's great, and builds more and more on itself... it starts out being about one thing but, always has more to teach. The book also has seagull photos at some points in the story, which helps you feel the characters are real and makes you feel like you are being drawn into the story a lot.

From a winged person's perspective...: Well, the book is about flying of course ^^ Although in a way you can see it as a metaphor, the story is also very much about "the things YOU feel joy doing... are important and will change you". So, if you want it to be about flying, the book isn't going to tell you, that itself is not about flying. For a book all about learning to fly, there is not much description of the feeling of flying... it's more about the Jonathan character achieving his goals. But, he does focus much on "flying for the sake of flying is the important thing".

Also, all the characters are seagulls ^^ So, there are no issues to worry about like, "is this book going to call me a freak for wanting to read about wings?"

Trigger warnings: Being outcast. Also, this is just my personal view but some things at the beginning of the book were a little ED triggering for me (it depends on what ED is to you), though, by the end of the book it actually turns around in a nice way and might actually be a support in that way. If you're not suffering from ED you probably won't notice this, but, it is just a small thing I noticed.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
I thought I will write these two reviews together, because the first one is a quite short book and the second one is not very relevant to the theme, but, it's here because a lot of library catalogues list it under "Fiction: Flying" and the cover shows a boy trying to fly. Because of that, I feel my duty to talk about the book even to tell you it's not very fitting.

I also decided to do a new thing from now... for the picture books, I'm going to scan one page of the book and show it here. Then, if you are collecting it for the art you can see if you like the art.

So, here are the reviews ^^

Short review (Unicorn Wings): A very simple child's book that is written for readers from "preschool" to "grade 1" in America, with very beautiful pictures and a nice, simple, sweet story with a good message. There's not much for older people but if you are looking for an inspiring book about joy, friendship and magic, to give to a very young child, this is the one ^^

Short review (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): An older child's book that has a "crazy adventure with an odd family" feeling. The writing is fun, but the part about flying is just at the beginning and then it's forgotten very soon, among all the other daredevil mischief. It's a fun book with no bad messages but, there's not much here for winged people.

Snowy white swansWriting (Unicorn Wings): Very simple... there is no poetry. It's a "someone just learning to read" book. Because of that, older people might find it boring, and the ending is not very "neat"... it just stops. But, for a young child it's good and the pictures are beautiful (see on the right).

Writing (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): Quite fun... there's not much problems with the technical writing. It is a little light-hearted so if you want a serious story, it might not be the one but younger children might not notice. The ending is a little sudden and there's not a real plot... it's just "some exciting adventures happen but then things go back to normal". Nothing really changes.

From a winged person's perspective... (Unicorn Wings): Very nice. The pictures of pretty winged creatures will make anyone happy, young or old, and the story is very simple and positive... a unicorn wants wings, helps a pegasus and gets his own wings, and flies off to be happy. There's no bad messages or sneaky feeling of "magic has a price"... just beauty and joy. If only all adults' books could be like this....

From a winged person's perspective... (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): The only content about winged people, or people wanting to fly is at the very start... and, it's over quite quickly. Anyone reading the story for this will be disappointed. There are a couple of nice lines, like "he felt the wings were becoming part of him" but it's not the focus of the story.

Trigger warnings (Unicorn Wings): None.

Trigger warnings (The Not-Just-Anybody Family): Trying to tear off the artificial wings.

More thoughts...: Unicorn Wings really doesn't have any problems except that it is very simple... but, for the age who are meant to read it, it's fine. The Not-Just-Anybody Family is not really relevant to the theme. Because one book has a very special audience and one book is not relevant, it's hard to rate them, so, please use the information here to decide ^^
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: Alison wants wings, and nothing else will do... not flying with a cape or even in a plane. This is a short little children's book, almost a "half picture book" (it has more writing than a picture book, but it has lots of pictures and it is still very short) meant for 2nd grade children. It's interesting and a little circular... the story ends where it begins. I'm not sure what to think of it at all, but, it's a nice book for very young children.

Writing: It's quite average and simple... nothing too good or bad. The ending is very blurry and there is no real message, leaving the story open where it's hard to say what a person might get from it. The pictures have a touching feeling to them, and, you can see the longing that is in Alison. It also has nice small details like, the feather print on her night shirt ^^

From a winged person's perspective...: This book is almost the opposite of the last book I reviewed, Eucalyptus Wings. In that book, flying with wings is a dream that you can swap for flying on a swing. In this book there are swings too, in strange coincidence, but, it's very clear all through the book... nothing is like flying with wings. Alison's dream of wings isn't described very much so we don't know why she wants them, but, it still has a feeling that many winged people will identify with. It's a short book and not much detail though, better for younger children who are just learning to read.

Trigger warnings: Feelings of longing for wings, and, the feeling of wings itching under skin and pushing through skin.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: An amazing book, about books and stories, about longing, and about wings. A book within a book, and "a book within a book within a book" in a sense... you won't understand until you reach the end... it's a philosophical book feeling similar to The Alchemist or Le Petit Prince, so, if you like those, you might love this. This book is deep poetry, doesn't hold back from being harsh, and will hurt your heart.... Because of the ending, it's not the kind of book I would recommend normally for winged people, but, what comes up to that point is beautiful, though harsh, so worth reading anyway. Just be wary... hold your heart close.

Writing: The writing is like nothing else I have read. Everything is mystery, philosophy, magic, and wrapped in many meanings... nothing is said in a literal way and it makes the text thick and heavy with poetry, though it's easy to read still. It's so poetic, that it becomes a little much sometimes... it reads like it was meant to be spoken aloud, for the beauty of the words, which makes sense, because of the theme of the book.

From a winged person's perspective...: The winged people in this book are not seen much, but they drive the story and they are beautiful. They perch to sleep and fly in their dreams, treating flying as an art and a lost heritage... they are not human, and I love them. All through the book too, it keeps returning to them, to dreams of the air and flight, and bird metaphors, and you don't feel that the winged people are far from the story even when they are not in it. The book is very poetic, and that poetry is used to describe the winged people too of course.

The one thing that might be negative about the story for winged people (other than the things in "Trigger warnings") is that the main character doesn't want wings to have wings, but wants them so that he can be with the girl he loves. Well, it's not wholly true, he does want them for what they are, but... it's complicated. You can believe that he has a good motive, at least until the very end. Then, it gets more doubtful. If you want to be super safe, read "More thoughts", but, it will spoil the story.

Trigger warnings: Violence, lots of sexual content (described in poetic ways but very obvious), cruel treatment of bird bodies, detailed descriptions of birds cooked as food, stealing bird eggs to eat. May spoil the story ) It also might be triggery for people with eating disorders.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: An anthology of stories that are presented as cultural perspectives of other worlds... in a very clever and funny way that doesn't stop the stories feeling serious at all. All the stories are fascinating and powerful, and the story that I think most winged people will like (The Fliers of Gy) has a mix of negative and positive treatment of bird people, but it uses that to tell a good message. Really recommended!

Writing: The writing is really fantastic. It has a bit of humour without being over the top at all and the stories feel very serious and real. You really feel you are reading reports from other worlds and they're very alien.

From a winged person's perspective...: There are two stories in this book that I think winged people will like especially: Seasons of the Ansarac, which is about a migrating bird-people that don't have wings but are based on real bird behaviour, and The Fliers of Gy, which is about winged and feathered fliers with a full culture based on having feathers. Both stories, like all the other stories in the book are very evoking, and the culture of the bird people in both these stories feels very real. The message of The Fliers of Gy will be very powerful to bird people I think... even though there's a lot of pain to go through to get to the good part, the message is rewarding.

Trigger warnings: Talk of language used to insult the people of Gy. Negative feelings towards the winged people and cruel torture treatment of them with mocking. Mention of cutting off, binding or injuring the wings, but it's written very clearly that to do anything to their wings will kill them literally. Treatment of wings as deformed or a handicap.

More thoughts...: For this review, I want to do something a little different: I want to philosophically discuss this story, because I think it's very interesting. If you just want to know whether you should read this, I definitely think you should if you can handle the cruelty: I would give it five out of five, for the bird people stories and the others as well. But I also want to talk about the message of The Fliers of Gy. This will spoil the story, so, please don't read this unless you finished the story or you don't mind.

A discussion of The Fliers of Gy )


Mar. 27th, 2011 11:29 am
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: This is an amazing book... it feels claustrophobic, and vast at the same time, gloomy and hopeful, full of pain and full of light. It's a story about a mystery man, a lot of birds, and the flickering dreams of two children... and that really gives you all you need to know about it. There's much philosophy, and many interesting, inspiring questions asked, and the book holds birds and bird-people in high esteem, touching on the dreams that we have all had about them. It's wonderful.

Writing: The writing here is great. The story is written like shadows, only revealing itself halfway, and the story builds up and builds up like a rolling thunderstorm until it almost hurts to read.

From a winged person's perspective...: The winged person in this book is never shown quite directly, but only in hints. But those hints are worth ten of what's in many other books. Through all of the book, his presence provides a feeling of magic and mystery that touches everything in the story. You don't see him fly, but you will feel the power of flight through all the references to birds and flying that feed on each other and make the story feel like it's very tightly knitted. He's shown as beautiful not monster, even though he is crippled. There is lots of talk of myths, birds as evolution, and a somber kind of magic... I only want to hint at it, because it's lovely to see it, itself, but it truly is great for winged people, and a little bit of a different story from the usual ones about people who want to fly. Though, one of the main characters in it is someone who has a strong love of birds and desire to fly, and wants to protect them, which is nice too. It's shown in one place as a temporary love and not something she deeply felt from the beginning, but other than that one line, it's a very beautiful picture of someone who feels connected to birds.

Trigger warnings: Some mentions of dead birds. Threats of cruelty to birds. The winged character is shown as suffering and in pain clearly. Lots of reflections on death.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: This is a rework of the myth of Icarus with beautiful picture spreads. Since it is based on the Greek myth, it can't very too much from the story, which I think many people know: Icarus flies too close to the sun and drowns. Like the myth, this story is all about flying as expressing the sin of pride... trying to be too close to the gods... which I think will bother many winged people, because they think that their flying is not about that, or they think that their flying is about being closer to the spiritual world and that's okay. If you want a version of the myth that has beautiful pictures and some poetic feel, you might like this one, but I don't recommend the story in general... especially for young children as it might make them feel "choosing to follow your dreams and be free will cause you to be hurt" if they long for flight.

Writing: The writing has a good poetic feel. Of course it is based on a story already existing so there is not a lot that's creative here, but Jane Yolen does expand on the story a little bit from what I know about the myth. Unfortunately, that expanding is only more driving home that Daedalus was a proud person and that the gods thought that was bad, which is the point of the story so I can't blame her, but it won't make winged people happy to associate pride with flying in a bad way.

From a winged person's perspective...: The art is really beautiful and realistic, with lots of detail that maybe you only notice the second time, and give a feeling of how amazing it is to fly. The wings really look like wings! The sad part is Icarus... he seems to love the flying for its own reasons and not because he has pride. He flies higher only because it's beautiful to fly and he loves the feeling. But in the end that is what makes him lose his wings. I don't think I know a story that has a more "anti-winged-people" message than that really.

Trigger warnings: None other than the obvious ^^;; The "falling out of the sky" picture is very realistic though.

More thoughts...: Since the story is so simple my thoughts are very simple too... this story just feels against all my spiritual beliefs, that we are meant to fly high and touch the spiritual world. I think that wings and flying are spiritual in many ways. And the myth of Icarus goes quite against that. Of course, your feelings on this story will vary. If you find the myth beautiful then this is a great book ^v^ Personally I don't know how to rate the story, you can't give a rating to a myth really ^^;; The pictures are a five out of five.


Mar. 23rd, 2011 10:14 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A story that continues the traditional fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm, The Six Swans, following the life of the youngest brother in the story who is left with a swan's wing, after being released from a curse that turned him to a swan. Because it's based on that story and can't change from it, in the beginning, the swan curse is seen as a horrible thing. But then, the story tells that the youngest brother's swan wing was "on the left side - the side closest to the heart". And this is where the tale really begins, as next we are plunging into a world of joyful flight, and pain, and spiritual wonder. This book is very descriptive which is both a blessing and a curse... it's lovely that it goes into such details about what it is like to be part-bird, and what it is like to be a swan, but because it feels so real this book can be painful to read. But, if you can handle that, I very much recommend it.

Writing: The writing is absolutely beautiful... I said about Gwinna that the descriptions of flying are the most detailed you would see, but about being a bird-person, the writing in this is even more descriptive and has equal poetry. It's a very serious story mostly but even then there are little funny moments, clever-funny though and not cheesy funny as a lot of these books... I actually laughed out loud in parts. At the ending, it starts to get a little slow and drawn out but the very end is worth it.

From a winged person's perspective...: Where do I start?? Usually, what is a good guide of how good the book is on this matter, is how long my notes are. For this book they were two pages long. I think that's the longest I ever had. I would describe all the little details, and I really want to, but that would just spoil it... but, for a character with only one wing, he's more well described than ten two-winged people in other books. The book always notices the wing in an extremely realistic way. His connection to swans is painful and beautiful. So much thought has been put into the whole thing. There are moments where he hates and curses the swan side of himself but you always see the beauty too in ways that make up for that. If you can put up with it not being 100% positive about him, but more like 70%, then you will love this book.

Trigger warnings: Threats of cutting off wings and actual cutting off wings, cruel murder of animals, abuse of birds, use of words like "freak" and "thing" by the main character towards himself and by others towards him. Lots of detailed description of the longing for flying and the longing to belong.

More thoughts... )


Mar. 22nd, 2011 02:20 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A baby griffin is born in a magical human family. The story is all about magic, but somehow, it feels empty of wonder and it jumps around too fast, never giving you time to have feelings about what's happening. It has some small touching and true magical moments, but in general it feels very flat, and there aren't many details for winged people to feel connected too. I don't really recommend it.

Writing: The writing is not that good... it just rushes ahead with the story without connecting with anything emotionally, and rushes into ideas that are really over-the-top without ever suggesting that this is strange or unusual. I guess they're trying to make it feel like magic is a normal part of their lives, but the result is that all the magic is taken out of the story, as miraculous things are treated as normal. The story also doesn't even really have a progression... the plot doesn't build up to a natural ending, but rather, a lot of different events happen and then it suddenly ends.

From a winged person's perspective...: Frankie can fly, but the flying scenes are really short and dull (wow... how did they make flying dull?). There is a brief reference to the joy of flight but the story doesn't dwell on it, or even really allow you to feel what flying is like. What is mentioned of the flying has some good realism in it though, and there are some other good details like descriptions of how the different feathers feel, and some mentions of the unique work it takes to care for a griffin. But the thing that I think most winged people will notice, that will overwhelm this, is how often he is talked about as a "horrible monster"... even by his family. It's meant to show how non-magical see him, not meant as hurtful towards him, but it doesn't make the impact any less.

Trigger warnings: Many people call Frankie a monster, demonic, and terrifying, even the magical characters. At the beginning, one person tries to attack him because of this view.

More thoughts... )


Mar. 19th, 2011 09:08 pm
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A fairy tale that is just pure magic... in every meaning of that word. This is surely the antidote to all the books out there that promise you fantasy and wonder but take it away just as quickly... it's an amazing story, for young and old people, and especially those with wings. It's a beautiful story for anyone who loves magic and spiritual things too, because its spiritual heart is very deep. The pictures are just as beautiful as the story too. This is a "must read" book!

Writing: Pretty and full of poetry, with a soft magical feeling matched with the soft misty paintings... the descriptions are so beautiful and the story is uplifting. The images will just flow into your heart.

From a winged person's perspective...: This is a great story for winged people. Even though this is a fantasy, dreamlike story, the descriptions of flying are realistic and the most detailed you will see. There are many realistic descriptions of birds too and Gwinna's wings are never treated as an afterthought. Gwinna has an ache in her body and heart for the sky and she loves who she is, only happy to embrace it, coming to learn that her parents are not her true family and that they keep her bound out of fear for her, but also not forgetting them for her new life, and continuing to be loving towards them... so it doesn't have a message of "thoughtlessly abandon your family for your true self" either, making this story the best of both worlds. There is no "horror of being not human" in this story at all, except from those who are ignorant... Gwinna sees herself as a bird. I can't think of anything negative about how this story treats winged people, except for the parts in the trigger warnings which might upset some people.

Trigger warnings: Binding wings and making them painful and crippled, described in detail. Some characters treating wings as a curse.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A short picture book with very detailed and nice artwork. The main character is a girl who doesn't want wings, but finds out that she loves having them anyway. It's positive in that way, but I don't think that the story describes much "someone who is winged deep in their soul". It's not a bad book for parents to buy for children though as it teaches that it's okay to be unique, and older people might like it for the art.

Writing: It's hard to say really... since there is not much writing in this book. The story is very simple. It has a nice natural feeling to the conversations though.

From a winged person's perspective...: Angela doesn't seem very much like she wants to be winged... although she learns to love it, the story is short so goes into no detail about what that feels like. Really, the lack of "feeling" is why I think this book is not so relevant for winged people, but maybe some people will find that feeling in the pictures, which are very beautiful, and the later pictures do show the joy of flying. There is also a small comment about how it's really a shame if you have wings and don't use them.

Trigger warnings: None that I can see.

More thoughts...: The parts I liked best about this book were the pictures, which have really pretty wings and flying, and lots of different wings poses and details (like little birds in the background), and the dedication... "For Steven Roxburgh, who saw my wings and gave me the sky". This gives you some feeling that there is a winged person's heart behind the story... but this book is too short and has too little detail to give anyone the feeling of what it is like to be winged.

The message of the story is good for young children who are struggling with the feeling of being different, but there is not much for older people. So I would give it a two... or a four if you just want it for the pictures.
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A boy feels disappointed with the new home his family move to, so he tries to get back to the old home using wings from a mysterious wing shop, but it doesn't go as he planned. I loved the pictures in this book... they have a soft delicate watercolour feeling and lots and lots of detail. Sadly the pictures are the only good things about it... the story is very silly and simple, even for children, and the boy doesn't feel any connection to the wings at all. I don't recommend it unless you just want to look at the pictures... they could make some very beautiful art on a wall.

Writing: Sadly not that good... I think that the message of the story is supposed to be "if your family makes you move home, don't worry, you will like the new place anyway. Also don't try anything silly to get back to the old one". For a story about wings it's very anti-wonder... I mean... what child wants to read a story where all it says is, in a really over-the-top and not subtle way, "you will end up liking this thing you really don't like now and you shouldn't misbehave or you will get into trouble"? I think a parent would buy this for their child to try and make them feel better, but it's not so good for the children.

From a winged person's perspective...: Lots of beautiful pictures... but that's it. There aren't any things in this story that a winged person would connect with I don't think... the boy only wants the wings so he can get home. Not because he wants to fly at all. And the book doesn't have much to do with the sense of wonder.

Trigger warnings: None that I can see.

More thoughts...: Heh... it's hard to have more thoughts about this book because it is a really simple book, just like what I said above. A lot of children's picture books come up in my search for flying books somehow. Some of them are good for even adults, but this one is not so much, and it's not even good for younger children. I give it one out of five, but the art is a four out of five.
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: The second in the series from Mercedes Lackey (which begins with The Black Gryphon). Has a less of a confusing plot, and stronger and more interesting plot, than the first book... although slightly less content for winged people I think, there's still a lot of attention to the culture of gryphons that is built around flying creatures, and the plot will keep you reading. The villain is also not as badly done this time... still evil with no good qualities, but he is more of a full character and not just mysterious darkness in the distance. I recommend reading both books, but this is still a great book!

Writing: Again, this is a greatly-written plot with lots of twists and turns, just like the first book. Lots of fun to read!

From a winged person's perspective...: Like the first book, this has lots and lots of little details that make the gryphons feel like real winged people... not just humans with a different shape that is "conveniently" forgotten for most of the book. There is a little more in the first book that might be interesting to otherkin and winged people specifically, such as the "species-queer" elements, and the discussion of human-centric thinking... they are not so much in this book. There's not a lot of flying either so people who look for detailed descriptions of flight, it's not the book for you. And the gryphons are in it a slight bit less I felt. But there are still lots of details and realism to make winged people happy, and a society that seems to have grown naturally around these people with lots of bird metaphors common. Also, there are two adorable baby gryphons! ^v^

Trigger warnings: Violent torture with some sexual aspect. May spoil the book ) One of the characters gets stressed and becomes close to plucking her own feathers. As far as triggers go, this is not nearly as bad as the first book, for winged people, though there is still a lot of violence.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
These are reviews of two short picture books I read... there's not enough content really to give proper reviews and both of them are for very young children, there's not much in them for adults (unlike some other short books like Hawk, I'm Your Brother which any age can enjoy). But, to be complete, and for the sake of anyone who wants to buy books for their children, I'll give these short reviews.

Leonardo's Dream... I actually found it by chance. I made a long list of library books that I wanted to review. By chance, I was going by the picture shelves and I saw this book, with a penguin on the front wearing artificial wings strapped to his small penguin wings. I thought, haha, what a lucky find! So, I picked it up.

This book is basically what it looks like on the cover. All the other penguins like to swim, but one penguin feels different from the others. He only wants to fly. As in many books, this part of the book is written well with his descriptions of longing to fly. But as in many books, too, the story gets let down later on. He manages to build his artificial wings, but crashes. The crash landing helps him find a plane which he then uses to finally fly and take all the other penguins flying too... but the plane runs out of fuel. The albatross who was standing by him all through the book tells him sadly that it was his first, and last flight because now the fuel is gone. (If a penguin can fly a plane with goggles and a pilot's hat, he can't also find more fuel?) But he doesn't mind, because he got to have his dream and now practices swimming with all the other penguins.

Obviously, from the story you can see that there is good and bad to this book. Good, because the penguin found something amazing by following his dreams. But it's bad in terms of representing winged people... because for any real winged person I really imagine flying once would not be enough... and part of the message seems to be that after you've tried your dream once, you should go back to being normal. It's hard to say what the message was... and I don't think it is that good because of that. What will children get out of this book? It's hard to say. So, with a mixed message like that, I don't think it is very useful.

Flamboyan is quite a simple and dreamy story about a girl who sits under a tree and dreams that she is flying... or, by the end, is she really flying? It isn't explained. There's nothing negative in this book... it's just a story about a girl who takes joy in flying. It's suggested too that she will fly many more times in the future. As a joyful book for children, I recommend it, just to show children that dreams are beautiful, that loving who you are is beautiful, and to have a book about that with no harsh messages, or feelings that you should give up your dreams. For Flamboyan there is a time to fly and a time to be with family, but she can always fly again.

I don't think I can give scores for either of these books. The plot is described simply here, so that should be enough to decide whether you want these books for your children.
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A fantasy story, quite unrealistic, but beautiful, of a girl who always believed she could fly, and learns to fly with a goose who becomes her friend. Unfortunately, this story has a very painful ending. But for most of it, it's beautiful, and has a lot of refreshing differences from most books like this, although the writing has a simple sort of feeling.

Writing: It's not as good as it could be... a little average. Though the things that happen generally make up for it.

From a winged person's perspective...: The main character in the story has wings in her soul for sure. Like the boy in Wings, she believes in her flying from an early age while her family long to "cure" her and make her "normal", but she keeps flying and believing. A lot of flight scenes, in fact, most of the book is this. The book is very good at not being negative about non-humans.

Trigger warnings: There is a big sub-plot about hunting and shooting geese with some vivid descriptions.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: An anthology of stories about people who are caught between human and not... "beings that stand between the two worlds feeling the emotions, thrills and confusions of both". From an otherkin perspective, it's mixed with some stories about longing to be more human and some stories about longing to be more not, although most of the stories have something in them about accepting both parts even if it is very near the end. From a winged person's perspective, there are three stories about winged people and a fourth that mentions them: one doesn't have anything about the wings, one has only a tiny bit, one is negative, and a fourth is positive or negative depending on how you look at it, but has a lot of beauty. That one story is quite worth reading but how you feel about the ending may vary. There is also a poem that mentions winged people and other species. I think otherkin and winged people will find more interest in it than not, although there are some very negative things said about being non-human.

For the information of otherkin, the species in these stories are: medusa, mermaid, selkie, tree-person, mixed (poem), scarecrow, centaur, half-dragon, half-hawk, and fallen angel. The selkie one is by far the best! I'm pleased for any selkies out there, because this is a great story. ^-^

Writing: This book is an anthology of stories by various authors, so the writing varies, although I thought they were all well written in a technical way, though maybe offensive to some.

From a winged person's perspective...: The one story that I thought was most relevant to winged people in this anthology was Soaring by Tim Waggoner, which has powerful descriptions of the need to fly, although I have mixed feelings about the ending. The poem How To Make A Human by Lawrence Schimel is quite negative towards both birds and humans, but does have some beauty for fliers and those who long to fly. The story Becoming, by Nancy Springer, mentions winged people but is very negative about them. The story The Hardest, Kindest Gift by Bruce Coville has a winged character but doesn't mention anything about the experience, and Princess Dragonblood by Jude Mandell has only a very small mention. I think for Soaring it is worth reading.

Trigger warnings: In Becoming, there are mentions of cutting off wings in order to become more human which is seen as a positive thing. In many stories, there is the use of words like "freaks", "monsters", etc. to describe non-humans or half-humans.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A short picture book with beautiful words, that managed to amaze me by being very powerful. It directly speaks to the experience of people who want to fly. The ending may be disappointing or delightful depending on how you look at it... but it's very worth reading, even though it is a short book.

Writing: This book has a beautiful poetry... it's simple enough that children can understand it, but very lovely. There's just one issue with the writing at the end, but otherwise, it's really good.

From a winged person's perspective...: This book directly talks about someone who longs to fly and feels that birds are their kin (which is the reason for the title). It captures the desire for flight and the nature of such a person very well... in a heart-aching way that other books miss. I think that most winged people will feel that the dream of this book speaks to them, at least in the beginning. Whether you feel that the ending is magical, or is denying of the things said earlier in the book, is up to your perspective.

Trigger warnings: A hawk is tied up and kept in a cage.

More thoughts... )


booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
book reviews for winged people

June 2011

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