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)
Short review: A boy feels trapped on the island where he lives and dreams of flying to escape, but finds out that the gift he has been granted is too much for him. This story clearly falls into the category of "be careful what you wish for" stories (even the back of the book has "be careful what you wish for" written on it), about a child doing something foolish against the wishes of his parents, usually because he feels he's stuck in a bad situation, and then turning back to normal realising how lucky he is to have a normal life. It's a story for scared parents to read to their children and hope that they become more careful... not a story that really sparks any child's heart. The story is quite simple and obvious, and there isn't much for winged people... it's not recommended.

Writing: The writing is average and quite simple... this is another children's book that has bad humour too, that makes the story feel less serious and real.

From a winged person's perspective...: There are a few things in here for winged people, but they are things you can find in much better books too. If you were stuck on an island and this was the only book you had, I can't say "don't read it" because there are a few inspiring parts, but, there's no need to buy it unless you are absolutely collecting every book that mentions winged people and flight. The story talks about "body flying" which is an interesting way of calling what happens in many books, the supernatural flying of humans without wings... body flying is a sport in this world of course and if you do body flying to feel your wings better, you might like this. There are also a few of the usual parts about how flying is natural and everyone dreams of it, and how joyful it is, which are nice but they're the only good thing in the book really.

Trigger warnings: Nothing that I noticed, other than the "just want to be normal" theme, which is not that strong even... the book doesn't deal strongly with the theme of not being a normal person, but, instead, he wants the flying for a practical reason and he gets rid of the flying for a practical reason. It's not much about identity, which makes it not triggery but also makes it not much interesting to this reviewer.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A powerful story about the power of change, flying and dreams... unlike many "mutant stories" the magic and powers are not treated as a bad thing, except by ignorant people. It's quite violent and some people will find it triggery because there is almost constant abuse. But if you can stand that, this is a great story, that asks the question "is being normal so important to you that you would give up joy?"

Writing: Quite good... although it has a number of cheesy jokes that make it feel less serious.

From a winged person's perspective...: This is another of the books where people fly without wings, but I think that most winged people won't mind as the story is so positive in other ways. The main character is someone who longs to fly in a way that is described really well and in detail (sometimes so much detail that it feels painful to read!) and feels that the sky is her natural home. The descriptions of what it feels like to fly are very magical and will make you shiver... it becomes her most important thing very quickly and she loves to see that other people are interested in it too. Like many characters in these books she has a dream to find the secret people she belongs to. And when things get tough, she fights to defend her dreams and her friends' dreams.

Trigger warnings: Religious abuse and emotional abuse to fliers and others. Animal cruelty and torture. May spoil the story ) This story also describes the feeling of longing for flight in a way that might make some people feel twitchy and needy.

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: This book can't be described in a short review so well without spoiling it... or even a long review without spoiling it. All I will say is it's a strange, beautiful, ethereal feeling story that is absolutely recommended for everyone with the heart of a flyer... and also just as a great story... you won't understand why for a while, but it is worth waiting for as it slowly unfolds, and in the meantime, the rest of the story unfolding is a joy. Even the cover and the size of the book are part of the beauty.

Writing: Amazing... full of poetry, a beautiful sort of melancholy wistful feeling, mystery, and hope. The writing never lets this book down.

From a winged person's perspective...: At first, this book may not seem that it has much for winged people. The main character is a girl who is so light that the wind carries her, but soon she is bound to the ground. But you will understand in time why this book is called "Bird". All through the book, too, you will get an indirect feeling of her love for the air... in the way that she always describes the weather and the quality of the air and the feeling of being up high... more subtle than most books, but it is all through the story in a way that makes it really a story about a flyer, in a way that is rare, and realistic. To say more would spoil it....

Trigger warnings: A child is imprisoned and treated poorly.

Extra note: This book is by Rita Murphy who also wrote Night Flying (which I review at that link). Clearly, she has an attachment to this idea... flyers may want to watch out for her work in the future.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A girl living in a world surrounded by people who can fly discovers her own power: to become invisible. But many other people are interested in having her power too, and try to capture her. Together with a boy named Bug, who dreams of flying, they flee from criminals and discover a lot of strange secrets. The focus of this story is mostly on the mystery and the weirdness and the strange adventures that the author can put in front of the characters: it's not much on the experience of flying people, and so I think for winged people reading it for that, it might feel beside the point. I think I was also very biased, though, so others may like it more than I did.

Writing: It's a very clever and funny book, in terms of its writing. Like Zahrah the Windseeker, it likes to play with ideas, and I think it has more of a success than that book did. By all accounts, this should be a great book. I just didn't feel it though, I feel that its kind of horrifying comedy-mystery isn't my style. So, I'll say I'm not the best person to review this book. It has received a lot of good reviews, and I think that as a book on its own it's very good... it's just not my style.

From a winged person's perspective...: This is another book where the fliers don't actually have wings... what is with these books? It's a trend now? The main character is a girl who's jealous of those who fly and feels negatively about them, while the teachers seem to worship birds and flight in a way that seems you're supposed to think it's a little obnoxious. It has something of a "sour grapes feeling". A second character wants to be a flier, and there is some exploration of how it feels to fly and the first character comes to understand why you would want to, experiencing its wonder.

Trigger warnings: Some name-calling and bullying in the beginning... sadly, this book couldn't hold my attention and so I can't give details for much further :( I did read it... but not in close detail.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A girl named Zahrah is born with mysterious vined hair that tells of a dada (shaman)'s nature in her, but the society around her is fearful of the unknown. The village is surrounded by a forest that everyone fears, but Zahrah is forced to enter it one day, at the same time as struggling with her power as a dada... the power to fly.

Writing: I think I expected this to be less light-hearted and silly feeling... I read in another review that it's trying to be an "African Alice in Wonderland" and it has that feeling. The unusual ideas are really interesting but they're not explored much so often they just seem put there to sound strange... There's a lot of feeling that Zahrah is putting herself through a ritual test but it's made less powerful by the fact that the story feels light-hearted, and the story structure it is based on is a very old one meaning you get a good sense of what will happen.

From a winged person's perspective...: There really aren't any wings, just floating. At the very end, there's a description of her flying, but it may as well have not been in the story at all... the flying is very secondary to the story.

Trigger warnings: Some use of "freak" and name-calling towards the girl for being a shaman, and a general sense of prejudice towards the unknown. But this book is light and unfrightening... even if some bad things happen, the way the story is told makes it feel as if they will easily pass, which is one of its weaknesses.

More thoughts... )
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: A sixteen-year-old girl, living in a family of people who can fly, anticipates her initiation into the world of flying solo, while also struggling with the oppressive family that surrounds her. Has a very melancholy feeling because of the controlling family.

Writing: I liked the writing a lot... it twists and turns and doesn't let you know what to expect. The ending is more predictable though. Most of the characters seem to have a negative side along with the positive, which makes the story realistic but also a bit depressing. There are some stereotypes against vegans and all-women groups.

From a winged person's perspective...: Well... this book actually isn't much about wings. ^-^ The characters don't fly with wings, they fly with magic. However, flight is an important ritual to them and makes up a rite of passage. They compare themselves to birds and feel a kinship when looking up into the sky to see them. Will spoil the ending )

Trigger warnings: A very controlling and oppressive family atmosphere. A brief mention of hunting birds.

More thoughts... )

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June 2011

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