by Grahame Baker-Smith

Age: 5+

Interests: flight, inventors, fathers, flying machines

Templar Publishing: 2010

32 pp.

Next: The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blériot about a real-life inventor of flying machines

Also by this author/illustrator: Leon and the Place Between

A boy talks about his father, who is haunted by a dream of flying. He works incessantly on flying machines that never quite work. One day his father goes off to war and doesn’t come back. Life goes on. After a few years his father’s dream suddenly speaks to him, and the boy picks up his father’s work. He succeeds where his father failed, and happily flies all over the countryside. Later, when he has a son of his own, he wonders if his father’s dream will visit him too.

A story about ambition and dreams, but also about obsession. His father’s dream is “a bossy dream”, and often pulls him away from spending time with his son. When the father leaves for war, bright poppies in the grass suggest his fate. He doesn’t come back, but this is not dwelt upon or spelled out. Gently the years go by until the dream returns to the boy. In the end the narrator and his wife look down on their baby in his crib – and through the window the grandfather’s face appears in the moon.

It’s a dreamy tale, with otherworldly illustrations. It’s not as sad as it sounds, the tone is more thoughtful, peaceful, and full of wonder. Most of all it’s a meditation on how we stand on the shoulders of all who went before us, allowing us to reach higher and achieve more than they were able to. (It’s no surprise to find that the author wrote this book soon after the birth of his own son.)

(this title available at amazon.com)




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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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