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BOOK REVIEW: That’s what Wings are for by Patrick Guest and Daniella Germain

| 14 November 2016 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: That’s what Wings are for by Patrick Guest and Daniella Germain

Little Hare
April 2015
Hardcover, $24.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Picture Book

8/10

twwaf-cover

There are three things that all respectable dragons need:
Strong wings for flying.
Strong breath for breathing fire.
And strong shiny scales to guard them from the dragon slayers.
Bluey the Dragon had none of these things.

Bluey is a little dragon whose wings don’t work, and who is constantly taunted by his schoolmates, who joke that maybe he’s “just a lizard”.

Some days Bluey climbed a tree instead. It was his ladder to the sky. He perched up high in the branches and dreamed of flying.
The other dragons called him ‘tree hugger’, and Mr Snakeskin told Bluey that hugging was an undragonly thing to do.

When Bluey learns of the Bearded Dragon beyond the sea who also cannot fly but is so wise that dragons fly from all over the world to hear his wisdom, Bluey knows what he must do. 

Through his journey he finds out that hugs can be a good thing, and that being different doesn’t mean you’re less important and that others should treat you horribly.

Bluey knew just what to do.
He opened his soft, floppy wings and have the boy a big, furry hug.
‘You’re the best hugger ever!’ cried the boy. ‘You should hug everyone!’
The others jumped up and crowded around, ready for a hug from the most huggable dragon in the world.
For the first time, Bluey knew what he was made for.
And he felt like he was flying.

 

This is a gorgeous story, with sweet and engaging illustrations, with the dedication: 

To every boy and girl with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), their families, and all those working and praying for a cure.

Like Bluey the Dragon, these boys and girls may have weak muscles, but they are strong and amazing in so many other ways.

And the whole underlying message is an important one; that no matter who tells you there’s something wrong with you, you owe it to yourself and to the world to work out what you’re going to do with your life.

This reader didn’t love the fact that the teacher was just as harsh towards Bluey as his schoolmates were.

One day Bluey forgot himself and hugged another dragon with his soft, floppy wings.
Mr Snakeskin was furious. He tied Bluey’s wings together to stop him from hugging again.
‘Keep them tied up,’ said Mr Snakeskin, ‘until you can behave like a proper dragon.’

Or that it also suggests that running away is okay, so long as you leave a note and send a postcard.

But overall this is a beautiful book, which will surely help young readers to understand those who are different from them and gain confidence in themselves, and as such this is a valuable addition to the home library.

Stephanie O’Connell

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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