Gnu Sky Publishing, 2014. 978-0692232965
Synopsis: The hangar is abuzz because there is going to be new flights for businesspeople, and all of the jets want a chance to have the job. TJ, a little grey jet in the corner, wants to beat out the other, larger jets but he’s going to have to have spirit if he is going to fly.
Why I picked it up: I was curious about this book because I wasn’t aware of the original story and I was intrigued by the loveliness of the illustrations.
Why I finished it: This is a cute story that is loved by both children and adults about believing in yourself and doing the right thing. In the introduction, Barnum-Newman recognizes that the premise of a court case doesn’t seem like it would fit into the context of a children’s book. But the story isn’t so much about a court case as it is finding the power to do what you want, find different ways of dealing with naysayers, and having integrity and love in all that you do. The illustrations are intricate and simple, using bright colors to draw the reader’s eye to the page. They bring the story to life and inspire our imaginations. With a varied cast of characters, readers will be drawn into the story, cheering for TJ and his friend Amelia the Good Air Fairy. It teaches us about how important it is to stay true to ourselves and that our differences are what make us unique.
Other related materials: Max the Flying Sausage Dog by Jack O’Driscoll and Richard Kelley, illustrated by Arthur Robins; Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earhart by Patricia Lauber; Orville & Wilbur Wright: Step Out Into the Sky by Carole Marsh; Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson; Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan; Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner; Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrations by Garth Williams; Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo