Book Review: Birdwing

Birdwing by Rafe Martin

SUMMARY: Once upon a time, a girl rescued her six brothers from a spell that had turned them into swans. But one boy, Ardwin, was left with the scar of the spell's last gasp: one arm remained a wing. And while Ardwin yearned to find a place in his father's kingdom, the wing whispered to him of open sky and rushing wind. Marked by difference, Ardwin sets out to discover who he is: bird or boy, crippled or sound, cursed or blessed. But followed by the cold eye of a sorceress and with war rumbling at his kingdom's borders, Ardwin's path may lead him not to enlightenment, but into unimaginable danger.

OPINION: You might remember the author of this book, Rafe Martin, from your younger days. He wrote The Rough Face Girl, which is often used by elementary school teachers. You might also remember the fairy tale this story is based on, called The Six Swans. That fairy tale ends when all the boys are rescued with shirts that break the swan spell. Unfortunately, one shirt isn't completely finished, and the youngest boy is left with a wing. This story takes up where the other leaves off. Sure, he was rescued, but did he really want to be? Why did he get the unfinished shirt? How is he supposed to fit in when he only has one arm and his wing won't behave? Is there a place for him in his father's kingdom? If you have read other fairy tale books (like those by Donna Jo Napoli), you will be captivated by this beautifully written story.

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