Sometimes You Fly

illus. by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. 40p. Clarion. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780547633909.
Gr 3 Up—Several developmental events from infancy to adulthood demonstrate that repeated efforts and even failures can lead to eventual success. The scenarios follow a pattern beginning with "before the…" placed on white ground above a picture of an unsuccessful effort, while the colorful reverse wordless page reveals the joyful exuberance of victory. For example, "before the seas…" depicts a small boy clad in water wings, arms crossed, head averted as he refuses to venture into a wading pool. The verso shows him confidently facing rolling ocean waves. Learning to drive, finding a soul mate, and graduation are among the other milestones represented. The illustrations, executed in ink and watercolor, are filled with humor. A bedraggled mom, hair askew, ingredients spilling over and even onto her baby's head, struggles to learn to bake. The following page reveals a lovely birthday cake with the guest of honor toddling happily across the floor. A driver's ed car carries the warning, "Beware! Student Driver" followed by a view of that driver enjoying a solo road trip. Reinhardt's scenes are inclusive of different families. The author concludes with some pages of advice and, most important, "What matters most is what you take from all you learn."
VERDICT An excellent choice for solo or group sharing and a natural for commemorating a graduation or other milestone.

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