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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