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Ikarus Jackson, a new boy on the block, surprises his neighbors one day by flying above the rooftops with his "long, strong, proud wings." People start to whisper, though, and soon those whispers turn to taunts, disdain, and finally even dismissal from school. One quiet girl, someone who knows loneliness herself, doesn't think the winged boy is strange. She runs through the streets, searching the clouds for her exiled schoolmate, only to find a policeman yelling at him to get down from the edge of a building where he perched with the pigeons: "Could the policeman / put him in jail for flying, / for being too different?" She musters her strength to tell the laughing onlookers to leave him alone, and she tells her new friend "what someone should have long ago"--that his flying is beautiful.
Christopher Myers, who illustrated the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Black Cat and the Caldecott Honor Book Harlem shines in this simple, lovely tribute to individualism, encouraging his young readers to dare to fly too close to the sun despite the warnings of the mythological Icarus. "Ikarus Jackson can fly through the air; I want kids to find their own set of wings and soar with him," says Myers. His masterful cut-paper collages capture the odd, crazy beauty of Ikarus's big white wings and the dizzying perspectives of a boy who is flying over rooftops. Urban landscapes are represented by cut photos of fencing, brownstones, and photo-booth portraits, while the sky in one spread is a sea of fuschia roses. Wings is a wonderfully expressive pairing of story and illustration. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson
Once again demonstrating a masterful use of collage, Myers (Black Cat) imaginatively refutes the myth of Icarus and champions the nature of the artist. A watchful girl, ostracized by her peers for her quiet nature, narrates the story of her blossoming friendship with a new neighbor, Ikarus Jackson, whose "long, strong, proud wings followed wherever he went." Ikarus initially walks (and flies) with confidence in his red T-shirt and blue shorts, but slowly loses steam as first the students, then his teacher, and finally a policeman all criticize his unique appearance. Always depicted as a yellow silhouetted figure gracefully cut from a single piece of paper, the girl sympathizes with the hero and completes Ikarus's medley of red and blue. In this way, Myers ingeniously allows readers to identify with the narrator, admiring Ikarus's beauty of flight and individual expression. The artwork isolates and reworks elements of the myth: In the valley of Ikarus's dejection ("He struggled to stay in the air. His wings dropped and his head hung low"), the boy seems to be plummeting toward an expanse of water. In the climax, as the policeman yells at Ikarus and the neighbors "explode with laughter," Myers superimposes the boy's figure over a scene of a forest fire, and the narrator reaches out to Ikarus from across the gutter. She, too, seems to be aflame against a backdrop of swirling waterDand breaks her silence for the first time, " 'Stop!' I cried. 'Leave him alone.' " Myers indicates that one person appreciating another's true qualities makes life complete: the two friends seem to danceDhe in the air, she on the ground as their unique colors and shapes create a unified whole. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Great story and material to teach kids an important lesson without being too obvious what we are trying to do. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Wang
This book is a great discussion starter on the negative effects of bullying & how important it is to find your voice in speaking out against it!Published 16 months ago by Kellie
Christopher Meyeres always makes beautiful books/illustrations. The story in this book, Wings, is so deep. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Katherine CLARK
It is so abstract it could be brilliant. If you read it in a very solemn tone and pause on every page dramatically it can be a good experience for you and your child (unless your... Read morePublished 23 months ago by KhMU
I could not remember the name of this book for a while, but "Duh!"... it came to me this morning. Wings! This book touched me so much that I haven't forgotten about it. Read morePublished on February 21, 2013 by imfinefine
I ordered this book for a third grade girls book club at an elementary school. The book is well written, beautifully illustrated, and has a positive message!Published on October 16, 2012 by Jacqi
I am an avid person when it comes to flight and I have a passion for being free as a bird. But a few weeks ago I passed by my local book store and saw in the window this very same... Read morePublished on March 30, 2011 by Dairy Farmer
Wings is a beautiful story about a boy named Ikarus who has wings. The wings are a liability to most people but finally others begin to see the benefits to his wings. Read morePublished on October 25, 2010 by Lynn Ellingwood
This is exactly what you expect, a book about being different - and not having to fit in. Great illustrations.Published on June 21, 2010 by Ulyyf