illus. by Tomie dePaola. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534405103.
PreS-K—Starting with the title, Klein utilizes 12 rhyming words, presented in carefully plotted succession, to tell the tale of a baby bird's first flight: from fearful trepidation ("Clings"), that doozy of a first step ("Flings"), a rough landing ("Stings"), determination to try again ("Springs…"), to heart-lifting triumph ("Zings!"). Created with Avery labels colored with markers, dePaola's bright-hue collage illustrations are fresh, airy, and thoroughly captivating. The artwork conveys and enriches the succinct story with eye-catching action and playful humor. With its proud posture and wide-open eyes, the featured bird immediately stands out from among three nearly identical nestmates, cueing readers to expect great things. The protagonist's emotions and moments of discovery are conveyed through its animated features and expressive body language; the minimalist background details keep attention focused on the baby bird's adventures, and mesmerized youngsters will breathlessly follow each up and down.
VERDICT Share this exuberant tale about learning to soar as a read-aloud, or use it with older kids to explore how a story can be crafted from a list of rhyming words. An easy-to-read choice about mastering milestones with élan.

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