Book: Zephyr Takes Flight
Author: Steve Light
Age Range: 5-8
Zephyr's Flight by Steve Light is an ode to people's fascination with flight. Zephyr is a little girl who is obsessed with airplanes. Her family is too busy to really notice, until her flight attempts cause her to knock over a set of shelves. Sent to her room, Zephyr discovers a hidden door behind her dresser, leading to a magical room full of books and implements related to flying, as well as all sorts of "flying machines." From this room, Zephyr embarks on a fabulous adventure. But, as in the best of children's books, in the end she is back at home, and with her pancakes (instead of dinner) waiting.
Zephyr's Flight reminds me a bit of Barbara Lehman's books, like Rainstorm or Trainstop, in which a fanciful world is hidden right beside a real one. There are two primary differences, however. First of all, Lehman's books are wordless, while Light's are not. Also, there's a nonfiction underpinning to Zephyr's Flight, with actual historic airplanes set alongside the magic.
Zephyr's Flight is a delightful mix of aeronautical and whimsical. Zephyr ends up, for example, in a land populated by flying pigs. She is able to use her knowledge of airplanes to help one flightless pig to build wings.
Light's text is full of the wonders of flight. Like this:
"It was filled with papers and pens, drawings and maps,
books about how to fly and where to go.
And then there were the flying machines.
There were big ones and small ones, some with propellers and some
with rudders and very strange things. And all of them were real."
The illustrations all have a steampunk sort of feel, full of amber brown airplanes in old-fashioned styles. Well, at least if steampunk normally includes flying pigs. In truth, the cover of Zephyr's Flight fails to convey the sense of fun and adventure of the book. Which is too bad, because this is a book that I think would please lots of kids in the early elementary school range. I hope that libraries have discovered it, and I wish that I had reviewed it sooner. Recommended for kindergarten and up.
Publisher: Candlewick (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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