Published by Balzer + Bray
Summary: One day when Mama’s away from the nest, Mel decides she’s going to try flying. “It sure is a long drop,” her brother comments, while her sister asks, “Aren’t you scared?” “Yes,” says Mel, “But I won’t let that stop me.” Off she goes, spreading her wings and diving straight down, past owls, bees, ants, spiders, and other tree inhabitants, who all try, unsuccessfully, to break her fall. Finally, Mel lands headfirst–in the water. She dives deep, catches a fish, and heads out again, flying back up the tree. The animals she passed on the way down watch in amazement, cheering her all the way back to the nest, where she is joyously greeted by Mama and her siblings (the fish gets released and has his own dive back into the water). Includes a brief author’s note about kingfishers, which is what Mel and her family are. 40 pages; ages 3-8.
Pros: Well, this is just pure fun. The book is designed to be read top to bottom instead of side to side. After Mel’s dive, there’s one page that’s read the conventional way, and then the book is turned in the other direction…it’s kind of hard to explain, but the unique design may help win some awards, and definitely will win the hearts of young readers. A good lesson about trying things when you’re scared is subtly inserted as well.
Cons: I found myself trying to figure out how I could turn this uniquely-formatted book into a Google slideshow to share on Zoom. Then I remembered that I hopefully will never have to do that again (that part is not a “Con”).