'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 13 June 2011

Review: Adelaide the Flying Kangaroo

Adelaide is a curious kangaroo. She is born with wings. Her parents don’t know why. Neither does Adelaide. What she does know is that she’s fascinated by aircraft and birds, and she dreams of flying, too.

So one day, Adelaide kisses her parents goodbye and off she goes. She flies away.

The pilot of the first plane she meets way up in the sky – is completely astonished. He lands with the kangaroo to a cheering crowd. No one has ever seen a flying kangaroo before! Adelaide and her friend the pilot fly all over the world before she settles on a life in Paris (as you do – or want to do).

A kindly man takes Adelaide under his wing (‘scuse the pun), shows her the city and even offers her a starring role in his stage show. Adelaide becomes an overnight success and has a fulfilling life in Paris.

Then one day, Adelaide saves some children from a burning building, but when she collects the kids, they prove too heavy, and Adelaide falls to the ground, badly injured – unable to fly. As she goes into therapy and learns to walk once again, Adelaide begins making visits to a local zoo, falls in love and has little winged babies of her own.

Written in a style that’s reminiscent of the life of a great broadway star, this is simply a biographical tale with a very unlikely main character… and therein lies the utter charm of Adelaide the Flying Kangaroo.

First published in 1980, this 31-year-later updated edition is a joyful and beautiful book – a style that Ungerer does so well. The tri-colour vintage-style illustrations are pure bliss and are absolutely worthy of matting, framing and sticking all over every wall-like surface in your house.

I only wish I’d had the chance to meet Adelaide in Paris. Maybe in another life.

Title: Adelaide the Flying Kangaroo
Author/Illustrator: Tomi Ungerer
Publisher: Phaidon, $19.95
Publication Date: 28 March 2011
ISBN: 9780714860831
Format: Hard cover with dust jacket
For ages: 2 – 8
Type: Picture Book