5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Almond is the most humane of writers, dealing with love and loss and deep emotions that touch a child, but in a way that a child can truly understand. His previous writing has been for young adults. This book, for ages 5 and up, deals with all the same themes but in a more accessible way.
Lizzie's dad is a little unhinged by the loss of his wife. He decides to enter the great human bird competition and fly across the Tyne on his home made wings. He tries to become a bird by eating beetles and jumping off of furniture, waiting for the day his feet don't touch the ground.
Lizzie, an intelligent, loving child joins her father on his voyage of discovery in which they both get to bring the joy back into their lives.
Despite its deeper messages this is not a preachy book. It is fun and clever and full of compassion. The ridiculous names of the entrants in the competition and Aunty Doreen and her dumpling cure for anything add some wonderful humour, and the illustrations are truly gorgeous.
This is a real treasure of a book.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This is a great book, a lovely chapter book for the 6+, with bright and cheery illustrations sprinkled throughout and a hint of northern accents.
The main theme, if you like, is a dad and his daughter who have a close relationship. Dad's a bit mad and daughter Lizzie keeps an eye on him.
The Great Human Bird competition is about to take place with many wonderfully inventive (and humorously illustrated) entries, such as Woodpecker Wallie from Whitley Bay and Benny the Bee Boy from Burramurra. Dad chooses "Wings and Faith" as his method of propulsion over the River Tyne but it doesn't seem to be infallible to anyone except Lizzie's Dad.
This is good fresh writing, and I think there's a touch of Dahl both in the storyline and in the writing style too. Unlike Mr Dahl's stories, however, this narrative has a more realistic finale.
Dad fails in his mission to fly over the Tyne with a mighty splash as do the vast majority of the competitors. However, Lizzie and Dad had tried their best to make perfect feathery wings and Dad had even confined himself to an avian diet of insects etc beforehand. So they'd pulled out all the stops and had lot of fun so what did it matter: its a great message for children who all too often see success as entirely synonymous with winning.
As a sideline there's also an Auntie Doreen and her dumplings who falls for Lizzie's headmaster Mr Mortimer Mint.
These four main protagonists all merrily provide a brilliant feel good ending.
Birdman Dad may not be a winner, but "My Dad's A Birdman" certainly is!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A friend lent me this book; she loves children's books just for her own enjoyment and wanted to share this book with me. I don't have any children but I enjoyed the book and it reminded me of why my own enjoyment of reading began when I was in primary school. The book is imaginative and creative with some lovely writing that I am sure a child of 5-9 would love to read. I can also imagine reading this to a younger child and enjoying the illustrations together.
There are deeper threads of grieving and the effects of loss on the father and daughter that run through the book and could be explored with a parent and child reading the book together.
Despite the threads of sadness the humour is strong with many different characters with funny names and costumes all gorgeously illustrated.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2007
A brilliant book! The pace is very fast and the madness and humour will not fail to capture the attention of children. It is beautifully written and illustrated - the illustrations alone would make you want to read it. Nor would I restrict it to younger children.
There is also a thread of sadness that is open for exploration. How a father and child cope in their own way with the loss of a loved one. It is not overtly dwelt upon and is treated with great sensitivity. Showing how loss can produce strange/eccentric behaviour even in adults, and how the child can become the stronger carer in a parent/child relationship. Leaving the reader with an impression that equanimity and balance will be restored in the future.