Through the lens of a young bird, A Time to Fly captures the fears that come with one’s first steps toward independence. Ultimately, it encourages its readers to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed.
A Time to Fly opens with a young angel seeking her first mission after passing flight school and achieving “high grades in the subjects of Love and Compassion.” She is tasked with helping a young bird fly for the first time.
The angel disappears from the middle of the story as the bird in question comes up with excuse after excuse for why he doesn’t want to leave the nest—even while his mother keeps urging him to do so. He insists that he’s not as beautiful as an egret or able to fly as high as an eagle. He worries about finding his own food, becoming lost, and the prospect of never finding a soul mate. Eventually, the angel reappears and realizes she needs to use her lessons to help the bird gain enough confidence to soar. Once she recognizes this, they are able to fly together.
Expressive, colorful illustrations complement the narrative, and the book presents a relatable struggle and heartwarming conclusion that will help young readers confront their own fears about growing up. The message would have been strengthened, however, by actually showing how to instill self-confidence and establish exciting personal goals, rather than relying on outside help. Although the angel and bird fly together at the end of the story, readers never witness a pep talk or see the bird coming to grips with why he should set aside his reasonable fears and take a leap of faith.
A Time to Fly would convey a better message by devoting more space to demonstrating problem solving. Still, young readers will find this story about a little bird overcoming his fears an uplifting read overall.