Thursday 1 August 2019


Fly written and illustrated by Jess McGeachin (Puffin) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN978 1760892522

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Lucy and her dad are good at fixing things, so when Lucy finds a sparrow with a broken wing, she’s sure she can mend it, too. Dad isn’t sure the wing can be fixed, but undaunted, Lucy gets to work and comes up with what she believes is a perfect plan. 

She somehow builds a life-sized airplane which she pilots so that Flap, the bird with the broken wing, can ‘feel the wind in his feathers again’ as it takes to the skies. Not surprisingly, the plane starts falling apart but not before a flock of birds from all corners of the earth – cockatoos, toucans, puffins and more – ‘lower(ed) the plane to a field below where it fell apart into a hundred pieces.’

From then on, the sparrow stays with Lucy and her dad until one day it’s gone.

It certainly stretches one’s credibility that a small child can build a plane that flies (even though it eventually disintegrates). And there’s no resolution re the bird – how does it leave the box Lucy’s made for it to rest in? Does its broken wing ever mend? 

However, small children – aged 3 to 6 years, for whom this book is intended are likely not to quibble about the facts mentioned above.

The illustrations are full-paged, using a lot of browns, greys and blues. The double-page spread of Lucy and Flap in the plane surrounded by brightly coloured birds, is particularly eye-catching.

The author/illustrator has drawn on a love of natural history (and a day job at Melbourne Museum) to create Fly.

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