Today I Will Fly juxtaposes Piggie’s optimistic ambitions with stodgier Elephant’s naysaying. There are also plenty of quirky details to reward repeated readings, including the charmingly incongruous mystery of Piggie’s real name (Elephant’s, we learn, is Gerald). Accessible, appealing, and full of authentic emotions about what makes friendships tick, this will put a contemporary shine on easy reader collections. Vying for their affections is that irrepressible pigeon, who, still utterly in character, finds his way onto the endpapers.
Graphic novel influences have reached into most areas of children’s book publishing; here, they crop up in a classic genre-the friendship–duo easy reader – and it’s yet another success for two-time Caldecott Honor winner Willems. The basic approach is familiar from Willems’ previous books, especially Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (2003). It’s as if each page were one frame of a comic strip, characters zip in and out of white space, proffer speech-bubble remarks, and express emotion through spot-on body language.