October 2009

Finding the confidence to take her dreams aloft

By Alison McGhee
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If you knew in your heart you were destined to fly, wouldn’t you want to give it a try? In the lovely and thoughtful new picture book Only a Witch Can Fly by Alison McGhee, the Halloween moon beckons to a young girl who longs to fly. Dressed as a witch, she gazes out her bedroom window until the time is just right, and with broomstick in hand, she slips out the door. After one failed takeoff and a subsequent tumble into the pumpkin patch, her little brother provides just enough encouragement to get her back on the broom. With an expression of great resolve and a dramatic count, she finally slips into the sky, black cat in tow. “The moon trails fire through a reservoir, and you are earthbound no more. Who could have known it was such a big sky? Bat and Owl wave bye, bye and Cat calls a velvet song to the moon. And you? You have flown . . . you have flown!” Her confidence soars as she glides higher, “For only a witch can fly past the moon.” The linoleum block illustrations of Taeeun Yoo are simply stunning, giving the book a pastoral, folksy quality. When the girl returns to Earth, her parents are waiting with open arms, clearly proud of her accomplishment. It’s an enchanting book that makes a compelling point about the perseverance needed to follow your dreams. It’s not hard to imagine such a potent message resonating with young readers this Halloween.

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Only a Witch Can Fly

Only a Witch Can Fly

By Alison McGhee
Feiwel & Friends
ISBN 9780312375034

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