How to Heal a Broken Wing

Overview

In a spare urban fable, Bob Graham brings us one small boy, one loving family, and one miraculous story of hope and healing.

"No one saw the bird fall."

In a city full of hurried people, only young Will notices the bird lying hurt on the ground. With the help of his sympathetic mother, he gently wraps the injured bird and takes it home. In classic Bob Graham style, the beauty is in the details: the careful ministrations with an eyedropper, the bedroom filled with animal ...

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Overview

In a spare urban fable, Bob Graham brings us one small boy, one loving family, and one miraculous story of hope and healing.

"No one saw the bird fall."

In a city full of hurried people, only young Will notices the bird lying hurt on the ground. With the help of his sympathetic mother, he gently wraps the injured bird and takes it home. In classic Bob Graham style, the beauty is in the details: the careful ministrations with an eyedropper, the bedroom filled with animal memorabilia, the saving of the single feather as a good-luck charm for the bird's return to the sky. Wistful and uplifting, here is a tale of possibility — and of the souls who never doubt its power.

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Editorial Reviews

Julie Just
The simplicity of Graham's story contains a surprising power.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

"High above the city, no one heard the soft thud of feathers against glass," begins Graham ("Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate). And no one notices the wounded pigeon that falls to the sidewalk-until Will comes along. In this sparsely worded story, Will and his parents nurse the pigeon to health and then release him back into the sky. Graham breaks his watercolor-and-ink cartoons into full-bleed spreads and large and small comics-like panels, enabling him to dwell on each moment of tender loving care and to preach patience: the "x"s entered on a wall calendar and a series of drawings depicting the phases of the moon show readers that the pigeon's recovery takes a good month. The solemnity and earnestness with which the family goes about the task may exasperate some grown-ups; it's a pigeon, after all. But many readers will savor the way Will's parents unquestioningly rally around him, and appreciate the opportunity to imagine themselves as selfless healers. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In the middle of the busy city no one notices the bird that has hit a window and fallen—no one except young Will. He stops, ignores his mother's warning, picks up the bird and insists on taking it home, along with a lost feather. His mother and dad work with him to try to heal the broken wing. "With rest...and time...and a little hope...a bird may fly again." And we follow the emotion-packed visual tale paired with the spare text all the way to the happy ending. The small amount of text is unremarkable. But Graham's visual story is magical, beginning on the front endpapers. The double-page picture focused on Will bending to gently pick up the bird clearly shows his concern. The next double page is textless; as all sorts of people walk around him, a subtle yellow spot is on Will and the bird in the middle. Ink and watercolor with brushed chalk backgrounds create the sequence of sketchy, gentle images that tell the tale in vignettes and a variety of scene sizes. Will's cherishing of the single feather throughout adds to the emotional impact. There is a lesson of hope here for all. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

Poignantly told and visually rich, this narrative flies high. When a pigeon breaks its wing, no one notices except Will. Sporting a bright red jacket, starkly contrasted against his drab surroundings, he and his parents take the injured creature into their home. Clean lines and effective panels showcase its steady recovery, readily receiving encouragement from the family along the way. Graham's succinct text masterfully reveals the bird's resilience. "A loose feather can't be put back/but a broken wing can sometimes heal." Pen, watercolor, and chalk illustrations add depth to this tender tale as the injured bird wistfully watches a flock of flyers outside Will's window. Exemplary use of color and perspective denote shifting moods, and thin lines enhance the vulnerability of this boy and his bird. Gently expressed and honestly delivered, this quiet, yet powerful story provides young readers with an affirming conclusion.-Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayatteville, NC

Kirkus Reviews
Captioned by brief phrases that sometimes give way to entirely wordless pages or spreads, this spare episode celebrates the spirit of compassion in a small child. Crowds of passersby step over an injured pigeon on the sidewalk, but young Will picks it up and makes his mother carry it home. He and his solicitous parents bandage and care for the bird, but will it ever heal? "With rest . . . and time . . . and a little hope . . . a bird may fly again," is Graham's reassuring message, and so it proves on the final spread when the released patient soars into the sky. Will's bright red jacket makes it easy to pick him out amid the paler-hued pedestrians and tall skyscrapers, which unfold in sequential panels and full-page spreads, the illustrator's "camera" displaying masterful control over pacing and perspective. This isn't as personal as Matteo Pericoli's True Story of Stellina (2006), but it will draw a younger audience, and is imbued with the same sensitivity and sense of intimacy. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763639037
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/26/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 109,439
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Graham

Bob Graham is the author-illustrator of many acclaimed books for children.

Of HOW TO HEAL, he says: "In troubled times, when many of us are losing contact with the natural world, I wanted to show that there is still hope in a coming generation of children who have curiosity and empathy with the world around them, and that care and attention can sometimes fix broken wings."

Bob Graham lives in Australia.

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