White Fur Flying
Patricia MacLachlan writes another extraordinary book, WHITE FUR FLYING. It’s a book that explores the healing process and how people, and even animals, can help one another. The author deeply loves dogs and children --- that message always comes across in her books. Dogs and children take center stage in WHITE FUR FLYING.
"WHITE FUR FLYING illustrates how people and animals have this incredible ability to work together to help one another."
The story starts off with Alice, the family storyteller, spinning a tale about an evil queen who punishes her children. Alice always bases her stories on her surroundings. In this case she spies a new neighbor, Phillip, moving in next door. He is being ushered in by his aunt who is a well-polished woman. Meanwhile the narrator, Zoe, tells her mom that she shouldn’t be neighborly and invite the aunt over to their house because the woman doesn’t look like she could stand fur on her clothes. Zoe’s house has a ton of fur because her mom takes in Great Pyrenees dogs that need new home. Her mom isn’t the only one who takes in strays. The dad, a veterinarian, can’t resist bringing home a parrot that needs a new home.
The mom invites the aunt and Phillip over to their house anyway. Zoe’s mom is very insightful and wants to learn more about her newest neighbors. While the aunt and Phillip are over, they discover that the boy is unusual because he doesn’t speak. Phillip’s aunt takes him to live with them until his parents solve their problems. Alice introduces Phillip to the parrot. Squawking out a greeting makes Phillip laugh, but he remains silent.
One day Zoe and her parents see Phillip talking to the dog, Kodi. They realize that Phillip may not have anything to say to people, but he sure has something on his mind that he wants to share. Kodi, like Phillip, is silent and just lets the boy be himself with no assumptions of how he should behave or what’s normal. The dog is unconditional in its support for Phillip. Anyone who has had a dog knows that a pooch will come up for a cuddle when you need it the most. Dogs let people heal at their own pace. Sometimes people feel safer around animals because they don’t have to reveal their inner feelings or insecurities. Dogs are friendly and loving. Plus they never tell others your secret feelings.
Zoe’s mom brings home a new dog to rescue. The dog, Jack, escapes one stormy night filled with rain, thunder and hail. Meanwhile the aunt rushes over, asking if Phillip is there. Both the dog and the boy are gone. It’s such a scary night to be out alone that Zoe knows that she must search for them. She searches the yard, runs across a meadow and into a neighbor’s barn desperately looking for them.
WHITE FUR FLYING illustrates how people and animals have this incredible ability to work together to help one another. The book demonstrates how children and animals are sometimes best suited to help care for others because they are so innocent and naturally want to please others. Space to heal is a precious gift. Phillip is lucky; between the dogs, neighbors and even his aunt, he is able to take the time he needs to sort out his problems. I feel that this book will touch children in a meaningful way. WHITE FUR FLYING is a book about a hope that children will want to read about.
Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell on March 18, 2013