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July 23 , 2009

Wings: The Journey Home


A young eagle struggles to remember who he is in this tale written by husband-and-wife team William and Elizabeth Hicks. Benjamin is one of three eaglet siblings who are attempting to ace their first flying lesson. When a strong wind blows him off course and knocks him against a cliff, he sustains injuries to his head and wing. Disoriented, he lands in a haystack on a farm where he meets a family of chickens and befriends Jeremy, the barnyard's smallest rooster. Benjamin, now suffering from avian amnesia, has no recollection of who he is or where he came from, and despite his strange appearance, he and the other farm animals (à la “The Ugly Duckling”) assume he's simply an odd-looking chicken. Ben spends his time playing acornball with Jeremy and the other animals but yearns for something greater and experiences recurrent primal urges to fly. Soon Ben's increasingly radical behavior begins to ruffle the feathers of Jeremy's father Humphrey, who fears he will corrupt and endanger his son. Meanwhile, the barnyard contends with the ongoing threat of the “Egg-stealer,” a mysterious, terrifying creature who slinks into the barn at night to steal eggs that the hens have intentionally left, hoping to appease it and prevent further carnage. Ben is determined to end the reign of the Egg-stealer and prove his worth to the community. Ben meets other creatures—a caterpillar, a phantom night-flyer, an angel, a fairy—who impart bits of wisdom that he doesn't fully understand but nevertheless confirm his suspicion that life holds greater purpose.

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“Wings” weaves powerful life lessons throughout a delightful tale that empowers children and adults alike to embrace and own their greatness. While targeted to middle school aged readers, the messages in this charming story are relevant and intriguing for anyone interested in human potential, just as many adult readers enjoy Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. “Wings” speaks to the human condition—we all have limitless potential and yet we allow ourselves to be boxed in by limited thinking.

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