A fond tour of a deserted, snow-covered Brooklyn, this nostalgic book--Uhlberg's first--was inspired by the author's memory of a record snowfall there in 1947. The child narrator recalls a day when a gust of wind launches him from a snowbank, and his long-standing, ardent wish to fly suddenly comes true. (The adventure turns out to be a dream.) More lyrical than plot-driven, the text links a series of sense impressions: of the Brooklyn Bridge, "its stone shoulders holding up a web of steel"; of Ebbets Field, where the boy "could almost smell the roasted peanuts"; of the lights of loud, bright Coney Island, now quiet with "each bulb topped with a tiny mitten of snow." Fitzgerald's (Casey at the Bat) kinetic artwork exploits the aerial perspectives as the exhilarated boy soars through a series of otherworldly skyscapes. Short brushstrokes create a busy, impressionistic effect, especially in the scenes of Coney Island, where Ferris wheel and roller coaster seem to dissolve into patterns of frost and light. Within the narrative's modest scope, Fitzgerald and Uhlberg create an enchanted vision of Brooklyn transformed but ever itself. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
- Karen Leggett
Everyone plays a role in bringing this story alive for any child who has ever dreamed of flying--and who hasn't? Before the story even begins, Gerald Fitzgerald has painted two pages of bootprints-in-the-snow, heading right up and off the page. Even the typesetter has let the words roll up and down the page as "I flapped my arms...I jumped from chairs..."--all in the effort to fly. Then suddenly it happens--"...as a fresh gust of wind billowed my coat, I sailed up through the snowflakes into the great gray sky." In warm billowy pastels, we see the Brooklyn Bridge, Ebbets Field, and Coney Island. There are touches of an earlier generation, when the author was actually a boy growing up in Brooklyn--old fashioned toys, ear flaps whipping in the wind. Flying Over Brooklyn offers a bit of history (there really was a blizzard of historic proportions in Brooklyn in 1947 with 25.8 inches of snow with 8 foot drifts), and a big burst of imagination.
K-Gr 3-In 1947, 25.8 inches of snow fell over Brooklyn, blanketing the New York City borough in white silence. The author recounts this wondrous event of his childhood through a dream sequence in which he is magically lifted up by the wind on his sledding hill until he is high enough to fly over all of his favorite places: the boathouse in Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Ebbets Field, and Coney Island. He describes the sights below him in wonderful detail and vivid images. The bridge has "stone shoulders holding up a web of steel"; the Wonder Wheel is "softened by pillows of snow"; each bulb on the electric lights is "topped with a tiny mitten of snow." When his mother awakens him in the morning, the young boy sees the fantasy of his dream almost come to life in his snow-covered neighborhood. The endpapers revealing only footsteps in snow as well as the Supermanlike outfits worn by the child on the copyright and title pages suggest the magic of the story. The horizontal shape of the book is a perfect choice for the panoramic views. The paint is thickly applied and the objects are blurred, aptly depicting the effect of layers of snow upon the landscape. Youngsters will delight in the idea of such a snow-filled flight. Pair this story with Uri Shulevitz's Snow (Farrar, 1998) for a magical winter storytime.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.