Paper Planes by Jim Helmore,  illustrated by Richard Jones

71He+KxbZyL._AC_UY218_Paper Planes by Jim Helmore,  illustrated by Richard Jones. Peachtree, 9781682631614, 2020 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book?  Mia and Ben are best friends and have bonded over their love of making paper planes. But Ben has to move. Will they be able to stay friends? A touching scene shows them exchanging toy planes. Over time, Mia feels angry at their separation and destroys her keepsake plane. Then, in a dream, the plane reappears, magically whole and Mia flies to meet Ben. Upon awakening, she finds a package with a new plane. From Ben! Awaiting her special touch — wings! She flings it away and it soars! The friends realize that nothing can keep them apart. It’s nice to see a boy-girl friendship and a girl interested in planes. Mia is a child of color while Ben appears white.

The artwork is attractive Adobe illustrations softened with paint. They have a warm, fuzzy look with a lot of details: the children’s respective doggie companions, drawings on the walls that make it into the story, posters and mobiles with planes. The whole color scheme is very thoughtful and harmonious, with rich colors and beautiful composition.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I didn’t feel that the text did justice to the artwork; the story was not particularly compelling. Mia does show a spark of personality when she smashes her plane, but other than that, the children seemed flat. Also, I was confused about the title.  The book is called Paper Planes and the children do play with paper planes in the early pages, but quickly move to model planes. What’s so important about paper planes that they deserve the title?

To whom would you recommend this book?  Possibly an option if a child is worried about a friend moving away.

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: June 6, 2020

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