Author: David Almond
Illustrator: Polly Dunbar
In a rainy town in the north of England, unusual things happen. Mr. Jackie is working at a pair of wings and tries to fly, eats bugs and flies and he is planking his nest with feathers. He is preparing himself for the Great Human Bird Competition. Aunt Doreen doesn’t like this at all. She is worried about dad’s behavior and every time she comes to visit, she gets angry and makes dumplings. Lizzie, Mr. Jackie’s daughter, misses her recently departed mother, she takes care of her mourning father, Mr. Jackie, and goes to school.
I found this book on a shelf in one of my favorite libraries in Zürich and I was drawn to its beautiful cover and interesting title in an instant. A grown man who still believes in the magic around and wants to fly it’s not to be taken lightly!
This book speaks beautifully and heartwarming about love, empathy, about how to be there for the loved ones, trust them, support them in their endeavors, even though their actions are judged and ridiculed by everyone else around. But it also speaks about the courage to look inside you and embrace your self as a whole, complete human being, with all the sun and the storm living within.
The characters have color and spark, they are likeable and easy to empathize with. Reading their story, a very different kind of story- that’s for sure, one can not help but to ask questions about the circle of life, about dealing with loss and rejection, about acceptance, about the people who dare to embark on the journey of self discovery, inspiring those around to join them in this journey, only to discover themselves at the end of it.