Saturday, November 30, 2019

Review - Fly, Fly Again

Fly, Fly Again
by Katie Jaffe & Jennifer Lawson
illustrated by Tammie Lyon
Date: 2020
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Fly, Fly Again is a clever and charming story about Jenny, a child who dreams of flying. After years of tinkering in makeshift laboratories and studying the mechanics of flight with her pet Hawk, Jenny builds a plane--only to crash into the yard of her skateboarding neighbor, Jude, and his pet Cheetah. Working with Jude, Jenny successfully learns how to control and fly her plane. This unique story includes lessons about problem-solving, teamwork, and determination as well as family-friendly information about the basics of aeronautical engineering like lift, drift, and more!

(synopsis from NetGalley; see it on Goodreads)

This is a story about a child who tries to build a flying machine. The premise reminded me a little bit of Rosie Revere, Engineer, although that is a much stronger book. Fly, Fly Again suffers from a number of problems that even its cute illustrations can't really overcome.

The meter of the rhyming text is generally okay. But the writing itself has a number of problems, technical and content-wise. The text, unfortunately, appears to be slapped on the page with little thought to layout; there are often typographic widows, and the text is sometimes difficult to read because of where it's been placed over the illustration. As for the content, I wasn't that impressed. The book appears to be trying to teach about the principles of flight, but those concepts are not always that clear:

We can pitch up or
and roll side to side.
Use rudder to yaw
with a wiggle and slide.

Would kids have a good understanding of pitch, roll, and yaw after reading that? If I didn't already know what those concepts were, I don't think I'd be able to figure it out from that little snippet. Also, I'm not impressed with the talking hawk. The book's going merrily along with a non-fiction sort of vibe, and then the bird, inexplicably, starts talking on one page. (And why do these kids have a hawk and a cheetah as pets? Is that even legal?)

The illustrations are really strong. However, they're kind of marred by the text that's just stuck willy-nilly wherever there's a fairly blank space (but, even then, some words end up lying on top of detailed parts of the picture, making them difficult to read). I would've liked to see a little more thought go into the layout so that the story can make the best use of the cute pictures.

While Fly, Fly Again has a decent premise and strong illustrations, I'm not sure if I'd recommend it. It could definitely use some tweaking on the layout. And taking out the part about the talking bird might give the book a little more credibility as a STEM title.

Thank you to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: 3/5
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.71 out of 5

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