A Wish for Wings That Work

By Berkeley Breathed (Little, Brown & Co.)
ISBN: 978-0-31610-758-7 (HB)                    978-0-31610 691-7 (PB)

For most of the 1980s and early 1990s Berké Breathed dominated the American newspaper comic strip scene with his astoundingly funny surreal political fantasy strip Bloom County – and latterly Outland – (both fully still available digitally – so don’t wait for my reviews, just get them now!).

At the top of his game he retired from strip cartooning and began to create a series of lavish children’s fantasy picture books – such as Red Ranger Came Calling and Mars Needs Moms! – that rank among the best America has ever produced.

That first foray into the field was A Wish for Wings That Work: a Christmas parable featuring Breathed’s signature character, and his most charmingly human. Opus is a talking penguin, reasonably educated (for America), archaically erudite yet ultimately emotionally vulnerable; insecure yet unfalteringly optimistic. His most fervent dream is that one day he might fly like a “real” bird…

As Christmas approaches his desperation and desolation grow, but he remains dolorously earthbound. And then on December 24th Santa Claus has an accident…

Breathed’s first children’s book is still in many ways his most poignant and joyous. It’s an old-fashioned Christmas miracle tale, laconically told and beautifully painted; stuffed with dry wit and uproarious belly-laughs to melt the hardest heart and it belongs on the bookshelf of every parent.

When the family have almost ruined the holiday, of if you find yourself somewhere other than where you’d want or expect to be, this is what you want to restore your spirits. Kids might like it too…
© 1991, 1995 Berkeley Breathed. All Rights Reserved.