The Simple Art of Flying
By Cory Leonardo
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Aladdin on February 12, 2019
Synopsis- Alastair knew he would always have his sister Aggie. No matter what happened in their African grey parrot-lives, he knew they would always be together. Until the day a medically-fascinated boy adopts Aggie…and a lonely socialite adopts Alastair. Everything changes and there absolutely can’t be anything good to come out of it. Not a chance. Finding solace in poetry, Alastair spends his time scheming ways to reunite with Aggie and fly off to parrot paradise. Never mind flying is a little tricky when you start pulling feathers out. A bird can’t even get off the ground, let alone to his sister’s new home. There is one thing that Alastair refuses to consider: maybe, just maybe, they may have already found their own kind of parrot paradise.
What I Thought- This was one of those bittersweet books to read. The story is both sad and happy, reflecting the tendencies of life – nothing is permanent, but we can always make the best of what we do have. One of the things that I did love about the story was that when the parrots get adopted, their owners also cross paths – progressing the story, but also keeping the melancholy to a minimum. The book is for a more mature reader, as it tackles tough-to-handle subjects and ideas, but it is entirely appropriate for the age-group. Alastair is a believable character, full of love for his sister – wanting the best for her. He is also irritable, selfish, and paranoid – making his actions have a complete sense of purpose. The reader will know that Alastair is doing the wrong thing, but they understand why he’s doing it. Leonardo writes a book full of poetic ideals that discuss how life changes but we can work to overcome the change and grow with it. Leonardo’s writing style is interesting, with the chapters being from the perspective of Alastair, but between the chapters are letters from the old woman, medical reports from the boy, and poetry from Alastair that all progress the story in different ways. I was blown away by the quality of this book. I think it would be excellent to help kids broach the topic of losing a friend or family member, or moving away, or any similar circumstance. This is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.
I give this book five out of five bookworms.