Lighter Than Air: Anything Is Possible by Giulia Belloni
... A SHEEP, FROM THE TOP OF HER HILL, WATCHED THE BIRDS FLY AND THOUGHT TO HERSELF:
"HOW LUCKY THEY ARE! THEY CAN CHOOSE HOW THEY LOOK AT THINGS: FROM FAR AWAY, FROM UP CLOSE, OR FROM SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN."
Sheep decides that she must build a flying machine, and inexplicably, decides that Wolf is the logical partner in this endeavor.
In addition to that uncomfortable thing about predators and prey, Wolf is a bad match as a partner. Sheep is a woolly-headed dreamer. Wolf is a confirmed realist. With irony he tosses a paper airplane made from a piece of newspaper, leaving a contrail of computations behind it.
"DO YOU THINK IT'S THAT SIMPLE?"
But despite his understandable doubts, Wolf finds himself drawn into Sheep's fantastical concept. With compass and protractor they draw up complicated diagrams--gears, struts, flywheels, and formulas. Their first attempt, to be lifted aloft on fabric wings whose design seems lifted straight from Da Vinci, fails when the fabric rips and they fall back to earth. Their second design, lifted by balloons, attracts a flock of birds, who apparently resent the intrusion of their airspace and peck all the balloons until they pop. Kerplop!
Is anything possible? With two physically feasible flying machines in shreds, it does not seem that the final plan, more balloons lifting a wagon-styled gondola cut from a dragon pattern has anything to recommend it as airworthy, in Giulia Belloni's Anything Is Possible (OwlKids, 2013), but the dragon keeps the birds at bay long enough for Sheep to point out
"SOMEONE ONCE WROTE THAT ONLY THOSE WHO DREAM LEARN TO FLY."
In a flight of fancy that will leave literal-minded kids scratching their heads, Belloni's little story actually achieves lift-off through the delightful cut-paper art of illustrator Marco Trevisan, who tints his pictures appealingly in shades of brown and newsprint gray against creamy white pages. Trevisan sets his two unlikely collaborators, dreamer and realist, in oppositional body language which reveals their at-odds personalities right through to the final page, where the two soar off above the birds, with Wolf, arms still skeptically akimbo, admitting that "Anything is possible." Even the endpapers, penciled pages of algebraic computations and the clever dust jacket endflaps add to the artistry of the story of these unlikely co-pilots. You never know until you try, and Kirkus Reviews agrees, saying, "Lovely bookmaking nicely complements this charming, light-as-a-feather tale of friendship and successful dreaming."