Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan
Lucy and her family are the car. They’ve driven a long way. There is opera playing on the radio. Everyone in her family can sing, but not Lucy. Boots, her father, was going to go to Harvard, but then he met cows. He said cows were more beautiful than any poetry. There are also a couple of other children in the family, including the two-year old Teddy, who can sing, but the only person in the family who knows it is Lucy. Teddy can sing perfectly, but often not with words, just, “la, la, la.”
The family is driving to aunt Frankie’s house. The river is breaching its banks and threatening to take the house. On the way there, the family sees a beautiful Dutch Belted cow. All are entranced by it. Lucy writes a poem about it, but she keeps it secret.
Once at aunt Frankie’s farm the family rushes to set up sandbags against the river. Lucy sees how a river can be both beautiful and scary at once. Frankie’s cow finds her way onto the porch, where she eats the petunias. One day Teddy goes missing. No one can find him. They call for him and call for him. Water is everywhere. Frankie tells Lucy to sing to him. Lucy is afraid because she can’t sing, but they tell her to sing anyway. Teddy answers and they find him. Boots reads Lucy’s poem and tells her that she is a poet.
What I liked
It’s nice that this family is determined to help another member of their family out. Sometimes that’s what you do. You pick up and do whatever it takes to help part of your family.
What I didn’t like
This book seems a little on the flimsy side as far as content. Yes, there’s conflict. Yes, there is a climax and resolution and all of that jazz–all essential parts of a story, but none of it is that interesting. I feel sorry for Lucy because she can’t sing as well as the rest of her family, but that’s about it. The whole thing does not elicit too much emotion from me.
I hope the river went down.
How would you feel if you were the only member of your family who couldn’t do something?
What would you do if your house was going to be flooded?