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*Little Louie Takes Off* by Toby Morison
Little Louie Takes Off
by Toby Morison
Ages 3-5 32 pages Walker Books for Young Readers May 2007 Hardcover    

This is a story about two flightless birds who, in time, get to experience flight. Little Louie is a black and white bird who just hasnít gotten the hang of flying yet like his brothers and sisters. Therefore, his first trip flying south for the winter is by airplane.

Gwynn is a penguin. Although Gwynn is an admirer of aviation like Little Louie, Gwynn is never going to become airborne using his own wings. When these two birds meet down south, they develop a friendship almost instantaneously. They pass the time waiting for Little Louieís family to fly in by playing with paper airplanes. Gwynn turns out to be just what Little Louie needs to recover from his loneliness, and Little Louie turns out to be just what Gwynn needs to experience flight. As summer vacation comes to an end for Little Louie, flight conditions are favorable for both Little Louie and Gwynn.

Toby Morison uses watercolors of blues, reds, and browns to illustrate Little Louie Takes Off. Many of the tones are mild and light, and they follow a changing of the seasons. Orangey fall colors turn into sunny blue colors. Toby Morison makes full use of the page when illustrating the majority of the book. When not utilizing the full page, the illustrations are often drawn inside circular shapes, reminding me of a view from an eye, or from binocular lens. My favorite illustration is of Little Louie grasping two balloons, getting ready for his big jump off the branch.

Little Louie Takes Off is Morisonís first childrenís picture book. Heís illustrated for The New Yorker, Vogue, and The Economist. Little Louieís story has rooftop hotels, bumpy landings, and two friends who care a great deal for one another.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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