Tuesday, May 23, 2017

High Hopes! The Almost Impossible Thing by Basak Aguoglu



Birds do it. They fly through the sky. Why not a rabbit?

Little rabbit works with what he's got--long ears. But there's no liftoff, no matter how hard he flaps them like a bird or rotates them like a maple helicopter. He can't get off the ground.

He adds feathers and faces into wind. No luck. He tries skiing off a ski jump and ends up cooling his heels in a snow bank. He hang-glides off a cliff, but still finds that the law of gravity trumps high hopes every time.

Rabbit goes up and ... down.

He gets the gear--helmet and goggles and all--but it's still a no go. Should he tuck his dream away in a tiny box?

"You can do anything if you try!" they say. "Dream BIG!" they say.

In a true "flight of fancy," a charmingly envisioned little rabbit takes off into the wild blue yonder in Basak Aguoglu's little parable of dreaming big. Unlike Dumbo, the flying elephant of Disney fame, for this little rabbit, equipped as he is with a pair of inauspicious skinny ears, independent flight seems impossible, no matter how hard he flaps or rotates his ears. There's no solo flight in his future.

So our bunny thinks outside his box. If he can't realize his dream of solo flight, perhaps there could be success in a crowd-sourcing configuration. If he can just get enough flight-fancying rabbits together in an aerodynamic form, maybe they can get his dream off the ground....

Basak Aguoglu's The Almost Impossible Thing (Philomel Books, 2017) puts in a plug for big dreams, for creative thinking, and for getting by with a little help from your friends, in a fancifully styled tale that provides fun along the way in its light and loose illustrations, done in blackline and bright gouache accents, with an admittedly cute little hero with twenty-one look-alike buddies who come to share his dream. It's a strange story with pleasantly free-floating artwork and design that makes it all seem somehow possible, if not all that likely. But after all, even youngsters will intuit that this is less a how-to manual and more of a fable for the more imaginative mind. "A difficult but rewarding debut," says Kirkus Reviews.

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