Review Blog

Aug 15 2019

Fly by Jess McGeachin

cover image

Puffin Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9781760892562.
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Themes: Birds - Care and health, Flight, Inventions, Aeroplanes, Grief, Kindness, STEM. What a lovely multi-faceted book! Lucy is a little girl who is very good at fixing things and when she finds a bird with a broken wing she believes that she can find a way to help it fly although Dad says its wing is broken and it won't be able to fly again. She and Dad are by themselves and she has to help Dad out as well. With lots of experimentation and trials, Lucy comes up with a design for an aeroplane, makes it in her shed and takes Flap the bird for a trip. Then everything falls apart. But as Dad says 'Not everything that's broken can be fixed'.
This saying is central to the two themes that permeate the story, that of the bird with the broken wing and why Lucy and her father are alone. McGeachin's narrative brings alive the warmth of this single parent family. The reader doesn't know why there are only the two of them and will need to look for small details like the photos on the walls to try and guess what has happened to Lucy's mother, as well as what happens to Flap.
The story is also celebration of the power of the imagination. Lucy is a determined child who really wants the Flap to fly. She tries lots of ideas about flight before she builds her aeroplane and readers will love her feelings of exuberance as she takes Flap for a ride and the thrill when all the birds help her land safely.
There are lots of ways that this could be used in the classroom. It could be used to discuss death and grief as well as the mechanics of flight and the power of imagination and curiosity. An activity pack is also available.
Pat Pledger

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