Put together a flying horse, a no-nonsense monkey, and sweet little baby birds and you have the beginning of a charming picture book. Now add a mean-spirited bird and some problems and you have a book so appealing your little ones won’t want to put it down.
J. Aday Kennedy has a knack for bringing unusual characters to life in fantasies for very young children. (Remember “Klutzy Kantor” the uncoordinated pegasus?) In “Marta’s Gargantuan Wings,” a picture book from Guardian Angel Publishing, with illustrations by Eugene Ruble, we meet another pegasus, this one named Marta.
Like Kantor, Marta has a problem. Her self confidence is almost drummed out of her by the taunts of a churlish blue bird. Aljor teases Marta about her resemblance to a mule and about her out-size wings that seem to be too big for her body. But are they really too big? Will they come in handy in a crisis?
A crisis does arise, and Marta’s friend, the monkey, Stajon, roots for her so she begins to believe in herself and her gargantuan wings. So what if she looks like a polka-dot mule? She has the courage to use her new-found self-confidence to rescue Aljor’s three baby brothers, and oh, yes, Aljor, too.
The story says a lot about friendship. Marta calls Aljor her friend even after he ridicules her, but Stajon is not so sure about that. Stajon emphasizes Marta’s good points, the beauty of her huge wings and encourages her to show him how well she can fly. He sticks by her when the going is rough. Aljor, the not-so-friendly friend, reluctantly apologizes with “encouragement” from Stajon when he realizes he has been wrong.
The illustrations by Eugene Ruble fit the story very well. Mr. Ruble brings out emotions in the facial expressions of the characters; there’s sadness, anger, fear. You’ll laugh at the antics of Stajon and smile at the love/hearts shown Marta by the baby birds. You’ll want to tweak Aljor’s pointy beak for his meanness. Mr. Ruble is to be congratulated on the beautiful eyes on the mule-like face of Marta. Who would have thought?
Here’s the link to Guardian Angel Publishing Bookstore where “Marta’s Gargantuan Wings” is available as PDF e-book, print book, or e-book CD: http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/martas-wings.htm