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Words with Wings Hardcover – September 1, 2013
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*Starred Review* Gabby, named for the angel Gabriel, is a daydreamer, and words fire her imagination, creating new worlds for her to inhabit. After her parents separate and Gabby must go to a different school, her daydreams become increasingly vivid, intruding on the realities of the classroom and schoolwork. To Gabby’s occasional puzzlement, her mother worries (“Mom names me for a / creature with wings, then wonders / what makes my thoughts fly”), but her wonderful new teacher is more patient, wisely helping her capture her daydreams on paper and inspiring a new dream to become an author: “Dad is a dreamer / and Mom is a maker. / I’ve been thinking, / maybe / I can be / both.” Grimes, recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, has written a novel in verse that is an enthusiastic celebration of the power of words and imagination and a dramatic demonstration that daydreamers are, as Gabby hopes, “cool.” Always accessible, Grimes’ language is vivid, rhythmic, and figurative: Gabby says her dreams are “fancy dancing in my mind,” for example, and thoughts of a circus are a “trampoline to the big top.” Plain or fancy, Grimes’ words speak to the daydreamer in every reader. Grades 3-6. --Michael Cart
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Top Customer Reviews
Gabby’s story is something I can easily relate to. Gabby is known as a dreamer, just like myself. Daydreaming is a part of life, and it promote creativity in kids. I love how Gabby sees the world in color, whereas others see it in black and white. The poetry aspect of the book can be confusing at first, but as the story progresses, the poetry becomes easier to understand.
Words with Wings would make a great addition to a child's library and could be used in lessons that teach children poetry.
Throughout the entire book, which was absolutely adorable, the right things were used to utilize characterisation --fragments where we veer off into one of Gabriella's daydreams-- and other acts of compassion, such as the considerate, open-minded teacher who encouraged daydreaming.
My only complaint is the "class bully" as a one-dimensional, unexplored character, but I have to remind myself that this is intended for middle-grade. If looking from that perspective, it is no longer a flaw.
An idealistic, sweet story, Words with Wings is a quick read that brightened my entire day, and I'm sure it will brighten yours.
I received a copy of this book as a judge for the Cybils awards. Opinions are strictly my own.