Tuesday 2 June 2015

That’s what wings are for

That’s what wings are for by Patrick Guest, illustrated by Daniella Germain (Little Hare Books/Hardie Grant Egmont)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781742978291

Reviewed by Liz Ledden

That’s what wings are for is the tale of Bluey the dragon, notably different to other dragons with his weak wings, wheezy breath and blue skin. Shunned by the other dragons for not being ‘dragony’ enough (read: strong, fire-breathing and able to fly), Bluey retreats to a tree where he dreams of flying.

Bluey does like to hug, however this is frowned upon and his wings are promptly tied up. Upon hearing of another type of dragon who also doesn’t fly, the bearded dragon, Bluey sets off on a long journey to find him. It takes some supportive words from the bearded dragon and an encounter with an appreciative little boy to help Bluey understand his purpose.

The narrative has a fable-like quality, with its journey element and powerful messages. Quite lengthy for a picture book, the story may not suit the attention spans of young children, however those aged around 5 to 7 will likely find much to hold their interests. Bluey’s determination, resilience and ultimate self-discovery will have readers cheering for him. That’s what wings are for is an uplifting story, with soft watercolour imagery that’s both detailed and delightful.

The book’s creators have dedicated the story to children living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a condition that, like in Bluey’s instance, results in muscle weakness. The book is dedicated to the inner strengths of DMD sufferers and their multitude of other talents.

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