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Flight Explorer: A Review
Review by Scott Tingley, March 25, 2008

"Wow, cool!"

That is an actual quote from one of my grade three students when I handed him my copy of Flight Explorer to take home for the weekend

The first time I flipped through Flight volume 3 I knew that it would be appropriate for some younger readers (grade 5-6 and up), but not for the early elementary kids that I teach; but I also knew that it should be. The good people involved with the series (created and edited by Kazu Kibuishi) must have had that same idea, because, coming out this week is volume one of Flight Explorer , the all ages Flight.

The original series is one of those books I might give to my own ten year old, but I would not be able to put it in my elementary classroom. It never goes too far, but some of the stories go just far enough to make it a bit too much for some young readers. However, this new kid-friendly version of the established anthology series has all of the original's quality and none of its (very, very mild) bloodiness. Which brings me to the one worry I had when this spin-off was first announced. I was concerned that the stories with a bit of edge to them would be edited out in favor of the safe ones. The safe ones are still great, but it would be a shame if borderline stories like the amazing Polairis were omitted.

While there are no stories with the emotional power of Polaris (although Big Mouth was silly and moving at the same time) there is still some darkness to the book. Perfect Cat by Johane Matte features a palace cat in Ancient Egypt who thinks it is being pushed out in favor of a prettier cat. It turns out that the other cat was just being groomed to be mummified as a sacrifice. Yikes. I think a lot of kids won't get what is going on right away in that one, and when they do it would be a great opportunity for a history lesson. That said, there is one very sensitive young girl in my class that I am going to keep this away from, but there is no reason to keep it from the rest of my class.

Matthew Armstrong is back with another Snow Cap story and Kibuishi contributes a hilarious story featuring Copper and his dog Fred. Cooper really gets the book started on the right foot (the panels featuring the giant mushrooms talking are priceless) and Snow Cap is a nice way to end.

There is so much in the book that there is bound to be something for everyone. I can hear you now: "But my kids only like stories featuring fish in a fishbowl saving the world." It has that. "My son is obsessed with angry mushrooms!" Got it. Tarzan stories? Yup. Monsters and robots? Uh huh. A space mouse? Yes. Stories with a bunch of shapes playing basketball? Oh, yeah!

See? Something for everyone.

Flight Explorer is coming out on Tuesday, March 25 2008. How can you pass up a book with a smelly wishing sock?

Edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Category: Juvenile Fiction - Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Villard
Format: Trade Paperback, 112 pages
Price: $10.00
ISBN: 978-0-345-50313-8 (0-345-50313-9)




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