My oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.
Flap Your Wings was written by P.D. Eastman and was originally published in 1969, but I think our Best Book Club Ever edition was published in 1979. Our particular copy has my husband’s name in it. Most of our Best Book Club Ever books used to be his, but very few have his name in them.
Flap Your Wings is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bird, who return to their nest to find a strange egg in it. When the egg hatches, they are surprised to find a strange creature in it (a baby alligator). They are not sure that their baby is a bird, but it is in their nest, so they feed Junior everything from berries to centipedes. Junior’s appetite never diminishes, and he grows very quickly. Junior is too big for his nest, and it is time for him to flap his wings and fly. But will an alligator be able to fly like a bird?
P.D. Eastman also wrote Are You My Mother? and Go Dog Go, among other classic children’s stories. He has a fairly recognizable style. The illustrations make good use of color, and they’re fun- Mrs. Bird has an adorable kerchief, and Mr. Bird has some hilarious facial expressions. For most of the book, Junior barely fits in the nest, but doesn’t seem to be bothered about this at all.
My girls loved this book. They knew right away that the egg contained an alligator, and they loved watching Junior eat all of those delicacies that Mr. and Mrs. Bird brought for him to eat. They were not surprised by the ending, and they said that this was a nice story. As a parent, I think this book has some lovely messages; the Birds took care of Junior even though they knew he wasn’t a bird; he was their baby, and they loved him regardless of what he looked like. Children’s literature can be a little too snarky (albeit realistic), so it’s nice that Junior didn’t eat his adoptive parents.
I would recommend Flap Your Wings. Unlike most of the Best Book Club Ever books, this one is actually still in print, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a copy. This book will appeal to preschoolers and children in the early years of elementary school.