Reviews for George Flies South

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Bird George isn't interested in learning to fly. But while his mother is off getting worms, a gust of wind turns his stationary nest into a flying saucer. He's flung into the air--then up to a skyscraper, where his only option is down unless he chooses to fly. James's airy pen-and-ink style is the perfect foil for the cheerful, unflappable George. Copyright 2012 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #6
It's autumn, and other birds are heading south, but George is not interested in learning to fly. He likes his nest best. But while his mother is off getting him some worms, a gust of wind turns the stationary nest into a flying saucer and brings George an adventure much more exciting than wings ever could. Landing on a car, George and his nest head south, only to be flung into the air again and again -- onto a boat, then up to a skyscraper building site, where his only option is down unless he chooses to fly. James's airy pen-and-ink style, this time with a muted, watery palette, is the perfect foil for the cheerful, unflappable George and his mother, who follows her offspring from a safe, encouraging distance. Layout varies from spread to spread, using panels to show action (or inaction); changes in perspective make for a satisfying design. While George's mother calls out instructions, it is clear that she is just a coach and that George is going to have to figure out the whole flying thing for himself. And he does. Like his young readers, George faces dangers and challenges from the safety of his nest and, when the nest is gone, discovers the joys of independence. Whether a reminder to parents of children's competence or an encouragement for late bloomers, this one will be a favorite for families facing the many stages of independence, from the first day of kindergarten to the empty nest. robin l. smith Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 August #2

Helicopter moms have not fared well in print—until now.

The parent starring in this light-hearted saga is nurturing a timid fledgling. When the autumnal leaves start to fall, young George still has not tested his wings. Cognizant of both the seasonal pull to head south and her son's fear of flying, the mother bird calmly opts to address his more immediate need—hunger. In the instant that she is off foraging, however, the wind lifts the nest out of the tree, and George appears exhilarated by the seemingly secure flight. The tension of the separation is short-lived, as mama bird quickly responds, although all she can do is fly nearby, shouting advice as the nest is transported by a car, a barge and a load of lumber. Ultimately, a crisis with a cat leads to the nest's destruction. James employs sequential panels and single-page compositions until the climax, when a double-spread depicts the triumphant learner. Fluid lines and breezy watercolor washes complement the low-key parenting style: This mama hovers patiently, mixing admonishment with encouragement. George, for his part, manages to listen, communicate his feelings and keep trying.

These unflappable characters provide likable, positive role models for readers young and old, who may then enjoy sharing Mordicai Gerstein's Leaving the Nest (2007), in which several species spread their wings. (Picture book. 3-5)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 August #1

In James's understated yet action-packed story, other birds are heading south in autumn, but tiny George tells his mother he's not quite ready to learn to fly: "I think I like my nest best." While she's off finding worms, a gust of wind lifts George and his nest from a tree branch, and he lands on the roof of a parked car. Becoming airborne again, the nest comes to rest on beams stacked on a boat, which are delivered to a construction site. It's not until the nest disintegrates during a final tumble that George, encouraged by his mother, rises to the challenge. Beige and pale blue dominate the subtle palette of James's (the Baby Brains series) minimalist ink and watercolor pictures, arranged in square and rectangular panels, full-page scenarios, and--when George at last takes flight--a sprawling double-page vista. Despite his timidity, George is no wimp: he clearly enjoys his inadvertent adventures in flight, buoyed by the security of his nest. A fun reminder that, even if the training wheels fall off, kids can handle more than they may realize. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

PreS-Gr 2--Young George is particularly reluctant to leave the nest even though he should be learning to fly to head south before winter. "I think I like my nest best./Will you get some worms, Mom?/I'll stay here." Then a big gust of wind takes the nest and George with it off on a wild adventure. Soft watercolor illustrations show an amazingly calm bird sailing into more and more precarious positions, tracked by his distressed mama. With his nest beneath him, he still feels somewhat safe but ultimately this security falls apart and George must try to fly on his own. Full of detail and heart, the illustrations bring the story to life. This spare book is beautifully designed from its charming endpapers to the climactic and satisfying final spread.--Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA

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