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On This Airplane: 12/14/22

On This Airplane

On This Airplane by Lourdes Heuer and Sara Palacios (Illustrations) (2022) is about a long distance flight and people aboard it. It's essentially an illustrated poem as many picture books are.

Per an interview with Betty Bird, Heuer's poem was inspired by two pivotal flights that have affected her family. One was her parents' migration to the United States from Cuba. The other was a pair of flights she took to Spain with her son.

On This Airplane, though, is fictional. Although the illustrations show a tropical place being left and an urban place at arrival, the places, time of year, and even the diverse group of people on the plane are generic enough to let children infer their own stories.

The poem doesn't sugarcoat the flight. Nor does it try to magic flying seem magical, though it does offer the possibility that it can be. It also, though, shows difficult it can be. It can be uncomfortable, scary, irritating, boring. What makes a flight special, easy, comfortable, etc, is the people on board: flight attendants, crew, passengers. It's people being good and caring to others that makes a flight, or any other even, a good thing.

Illustrator Sara Palacios fills the plane with a diverse group of people. Even the main family appears to be a blended, multi-ethnic one.

Five stars

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