Much to the disgust of his self-absorbed family, twelve-year-old Ian Carras sprouts wings, a magical event that threatens his mother's social status, his father's mayoral campaign, and his sister's feelings
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Bill Brittain's tales of the rural New England village of Coven Tree are well loved by children of all ages. The Wish Giver was a Newbery Honor Book; it and Devil's Donkey were both named ALA Notabled Children's Books as well as School Library Journal Best Books. Dr. Dredd's Wagon of Wonders was a 1988 Children's Editors' Choice (ALA Booklist), and Professor Popkin's Prodigious Polish was named a "Pick of the Lists" by American Bookseller.
Mr. Brittain has written many other delightful books, which have also received high acclaim. Among these are All the Money in the World, which won the 1982-1983 Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award and which has been adapted for an ABC-TV Saturday Special; and The Fantastic Freshman, which was named an ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.
Bill Brittain lives with his wife, Ginny, in Asheville, North Carolina.From Kirkus Reviews:
From the author of The Wish Giver (Newbery Honor, 1984) and other stories that blend lively humor with dark magic, a grim fable about a seventh grader whose wings cause him more anguish than joy. Though Ian has never caused trouble, his parents have neglected him while pampering his accomplished sister Diane. Even when fierce pain in his shoulders mystifies the family doctor, their response is annoyance, not sympathy. When Ian's huge, batlike wings emerge, they're horrified: Dad's sure the ``freak'' will spoil his new political career. Once the secret leaks out, Ian tries school but is cruelly teased; only six-fingered pariah Anita is concerned about his plight. She and her mother wisk Ian to their primitive mountaintop home and suggest that he try to fly--which he does; it's a grand experience. Meanwhile, Dad has found a surgeon to amputate; he and Mom tearfully divulge feeble reasons for their callousness (Diane was a sickly baby, and overprotection became a bad habit; Grandpa forced Dad to be a banker: running for mayor is the first thing he's ever done on his own). Reluctantly, Ian agrees to part with his beloved wings. It's true that wings would be an inconvenience, and Brittain imagines their logistical consequences with skill. But Ian's persecution by his family and classmates is disagreeably overdrawn, while the gun Anita and her mom use to clinch arguments with importunate reporters adds a gratuitously jarring note. An aggressively unfunny fantasy, depressing with or without its subtext--which is sure to elude children. (Fiction. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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