The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights by Lola McClane and illustrated by Angel dela Peña, picture e-book, 64 pages, published by Xlibris in 2015.
Augie and his sister, Snookie, are newly hatched young birds. Together they eat, laugh, learn and grow, until it comes time for their flying lessons. Snooki takes to the air, but Augie finds himself unable to leave the nest due to an intense fear of heights. He is very lonely while his sister and mum are off flying until a cat appears at the edge of the nest. The cat, Coleman, helps Augie to overcome his fear of heights.
This is a pleasant story of a wonderful and unlikely friendship that brings about a huge change in a little bird’s life. It is about persistence, patience and determination, as well as the faith and trust found between friends. I quite liked the feel-good nature of the story. This book could be a good starting point for talking about fears and phobias in general with kids. While it is specifically about overcoming a fear of heights, many fears can be tackled in a similar way.
The illustrations are appealing to children and very cute. Augie reminded me of the chickenhawk from the old Looney Tunes cartoons I used to watch as a kid. I read a digital copy, but I think that reading the physical book would help align the illustrations with the relevant text better.
I found the text on some of the pages was unpleasant to the eye. Where there was a coloured background, each individual word was surrounded by a small white outline, which I hated. It was more difficult to read than the text printed on lighter colours or white, and I felt like I was straining my eyes.
The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights was too long for my younger children to enjoy in one sitting. It was better for my older kids; my 9 year old particularly liked it. It is suitable for reading to lower primary school children, while middle primary school children could read it for themselves.
*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.