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Sunday, March 12, 2017

NOPE! A tale of first flight. Written and illustrated by Drew Sheneman. Viking. Penguin. 2017. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"A nurturing mama,
a fearful baby,
and a nest in a
tall, tall tree.


Every summer I sit in my back porch and watch a pair of robins do their best to raise their family in a small nest that rests atop a wire leading from the lane to the house. The nest has been there for four years. This past summer, there were two families! I am always checking to watch the babies poke their heads over the edge, share the food being so carefully brought to them in hopes that I will see them fledge. I have only seen that happen once. No matter how often I check, how quietly I sit, or how long I wait, I'm rarely there for that first flight. Darn it!

Luckily, while those babies may have some cause for concern, they always leave the nest. I hope they don't face the dangers that this baby bird sees as deterrents to his ability to find his own way. First, it's the drop. He seems prepared. It is a LONG drop if his wings won't hold him up. NOPE! he tells his mama.

Loving and patient, she does her best to encourage him. But what about that cat at the base of the tree? It certainly looks menacing, and ready for lunch. The young one reassesses his position, with a head shake, a knock on the side of the head and an even closer look. Three slavering wolves have taken the cat's place. ABSOLUTELY NOT! Thoughts about what else could transpire only makes it worse!

Mama hugs, cajoles, and finally does what all mothers must do in helping their babies find their way - she kicks him to the curb! What happens next is pure rapture for those concerned, including young readers.

Wordless, not exactly. Filled with emotion, action, imagination and drama, it sure is! Drew Sheneman hits it out of the park with his first picture book. My little girls are going to love it; so, it has already found a place in their book cupboard. YEP!                                                                      

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