Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Middle Grade Review: Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan


Title: Fly Away
Author: Patricia MacLachlan
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014.  44 pages.
Source: Library ebook

Lucy is the only one in her family who doesn't sing. Even her baby brother, who can't yet talk, sings to her at night when the others are asleep.  Singing is what the family does, just like they go every year to help out Aunt Frankie. When the river floods Aunt Frankie's farm, everything comes together: family and music and poetry and the river.

Like most of Patricia MacLachlan's books, Fly Away is very short and deceptively simple. In just 44 pages--about a half hour's reading for me--we are given a family dynamic and a little girl who is trying to figure out where she belongs in a family where everyone sings, but she just wants to be a poet. And in one terrible moment of fear, it all comes together beautifully.

MacLachlan's books is like a poem itself--spare and simple words with a lot said between the lines. When I read a book like this, part of me really wants to read the rest of the book--the party the author didn't write, that fills in all the details of the story. But that's not a bad thing.

I don't know if this is as as easy a read as it looks. With its brevity and simple writing, it seems like it would be for kids just breaking into chapter books. But, like Sarah, Plain and Tall, which has much more in it than the length and simplicity of the story would suggest, it probably takes an older reader to unpack much of what it is really about. So maybe this is a book for all ages. Certainly an older child who thinks a lot but reads poorly would appreciate the simplicity of the language and the complexity of the story, as did I.

Full Disclosure: I checked Fly Away out of my digital library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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  1. This sounds great. I will try and get it for my daughter, as I believe she's enjoy it. Visiting from the #Kidlitbloghop from Mami Tales :)

  2. Oh my Gosh.. we LOVED this book. I have read and re-read this book and am waiting for my daughter to read and tell me what she thinks. Its a fantastic chapter book.. hoping to see more in this format from the author! Thanks for sharing on Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  3. Wonderful review! I think my niece would really enjoy this book. Thank you for sharing. Visiting from the Kid Lit Blog Hop :). Have a great week!

  4. Oh wow - this book sounds so moving. Sounds like it might need to the right reader. This is the kind of book I also like to read aloud to my older children because it leaves room for discussion. thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

    1. I agree about the read-aloud possibilities. I think she's a wonderful writer, and always understated.

  5. Thanks for introducing me to a new book, Rebecca. Also, thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

    1. I was pleased to see that she had a couple more that I haven't read, too!


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