Peter and the Parachute


Children - Grade K-3rd
36 Pages
Reviewed on 04/23/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite

Having the courage to leave the nest – quite literally – is at the heart of this charming chapter book for young readers, written by Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning, and artfully illustrated by Irena Urosevic. Peter is a three-month-old young eagle – a gangly teenager, in bird years – and he’s afraid of flying in case he falls. In fact, he’s so afraid of falling that he wears a parachute at all times. His mother tries talking some sense into him, telling him that he’s a bird of prey and that he’s supposed to fly and catch his own food, but to no avail. Peter refuses to take the plunge. He’s visited by his Uncle Apollo who boasts about exploring the world and being able to fly higher than woodpeckers, gulls, condors, and even higher than the clouds. Peter is also visited by his mom’s old friend, Ace, who advises him to trust his survival instinct. Cousin Venus visits next, who confesses to being nervous about all kinds of things and having the courage to overcome his nerves. While Peter appreciates everything they’ve told him, he still is too afraid to fly – until a strong gust of wind sends Peter toppling from his nest a short while later…

The young protagonist, Peter, faces a challenge typical of most children – being afraid to do something for the first time. Peter and the Parachute teaches children that such fears and anxieties are normal and that you need to try things to find out if you can do them. It also teaches children to trust their instincts. Peter recognizes the perils of flying but he also understands his need to overcome his fear. The authors use simple words befitting the reading level of their targeted audience, yet the story draws you in, thanks to Peter’s innate vulnerability, beautifully conveyed through both the narrative and the thoughtful illustrations. Urosevic’s detailed illustrations capture the essence of the story perfectly. The backgrounds are colorful and vibrant but it’s the character of Peter and his family and friends that truly give the story life through expressive facial gestures and body posturing. Peter and the Parachute is a wonderful story that teaches an important life lesson for children – and even a few adults!

K.C. Finn

Peter and the Parachute is a work of animal-themed fiction written for children and presented in the form of an illustrated chapter book, with writing by author duo Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning, and illustrations by artist Irena Urosevic. Designed for independent readers moving into chapter books for the first time, this delightful and engaging story focuses on a family of golden eagles, in particular the young son of the family, Peter. When Peter’s mother encourages him to fly the nest, Peter contrives a parachute in case things go wrong. But an important lesson in trusting your abilities and believing in yourself is about to begin.

Author duo Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning have created a really engaging and perfectly timed chapter story for new readers to fall in love with and access really easily. The grammar and word choice are well arranged for simplicity, but the characterization is beautifully done to capture children and let them hear the wisdom which Peter’s parents and the charismatic Uncle Apollo share with him. The illustrations by artist Irena Urosevic add to this with their depth and expression of emotion, giving us further insight into Peter’s emotional journey as he goes from a fear of flying through to his triumphant ending. There is a perfect sense of layout to know when to add an illustration to help keep the understanding of the tale flowing. Overall, I would highly recommend Peter and the Parachute for keen readers starting out on their own adventures: a valuable book about self-belief.

Barbara Fanson

Peter and the Parachute isn’t just one story but a collection of five short stories. Each eagle has a different story of how they learned a new skill. Each bird has a different technique to confronting its deepest fear. This wonderful book has short chapters with beautiful illustrations. Peter the golden eagle is afraid to fly so he wears a security blanket in the form of a parachute. Will he overcome his fear and learn to fly? Authors Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning have written five interesting stories that most people can relate to. They have also supplied techniques for children to overcome their own fears. The stories are so interesting that children and their parents may not notice the subtle life lessons hidden within!

Parents and teachers will enjoy reading Peter and the Parachute to children. The interesting book contains five fun stories that children will enjoy without realizing the subtle message of overcoming your fears. And they’ll learn a thing or two about golden eagles and other fledglings—birds ready to leave a nest and fly. Authors Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning have created a wonderful book with five stories that boys and girls—and their parents—will find interesting and educational. The full-color illustrations by artist Irena Urosevic are well executed and imaginative. With beautiful backgrounds of soft greens and blues, the majestic birds glide through the sky. This book is so inspiring that we can all relate to it. I think this book should be in every public and school library.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

We’re all afraid of something: a bump in the night, climbing a tree too high, jumping in a big pile of leaves. Whatever the fear, it’s extremely difficult to control and overcome. Peter is an eagle. He lives in his parents’ nest high in the trees. And, he won’t leave, even though he’s old enough to be on his own. His sister left weeks ago. But not Peter. He’s afraid of flying, afraid he might fall from the sky. That’s why everywhere he goes, he wears a parachute on his back. The parachute is supposed to protect him should he fall. But Peter still won’t try to fly until, one day, he falls from his nest. Who would have thought that even as he was falling, Peter was still too afraid to try his wings: to fly.

Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning’s early chapter book/picture book, Peter and the Parachute, is a clever way to introduce to young readers the issue of fear and believing in oneself enough to overcome fear. The story is broken into chapters with clever chapter titles. The plot develops as Peter meets one eagle family member after another and listens to their stories. The young eagle tries to take heart after each new story is shared, but the climax doesn’t come until he actually falls from the nest and, very quickly, has to do something to save himself. It’s a very scary moment for Peter and probably the young reader, too. The illustrations help develop the plot as the young reader follows the story and learns not only about Peter’s fears but also a little bit about eagles as well. And the idea of a parachute is a clever one for Peter, but it’s only a crutch for him to lean on, an excuse to prevent him from trying, something we all must do from time to time. The big question is: will Peter’s crutch, the parachute, help him? A great learning tool.

Tammy Ruggles

Peter and the Parachute, by Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning, is a children's book that tells the story of a baby eagle named Peter, who wears a parachute because he's too afraid to test his wings and fly. His parents try to encourage him, and so does his egocentric uncle, who flies higher and faster than any eagle around, but nothing seems to work. Why? Peter lacks confidence, and this is really what this book is about. Will Peter ever shed his parachute and try his own wings, or will he forever be stuck at home in his nest, safe by his parents' side?

Accompanied by illustrations by Irena Urosevic of Peter, his family, and his attempts, this book explores feelings most children have at one time or another. The lack of self-confidence, torn between wanting to stay close to parents but also wanting to venture out independently. This story takes its time in showing Peter's progression from uncertain and afraid to courageous and independent, and this is wise on the authors' part because gaining bravery and independence can take time and usually doesn't happen overnight. The payoff at the end of this book is honestly earned, not just a rushed, convenient ending. By the end of the story, readers--adults and children too I predict--are cheering for Peter's success. Any child, teen, or adult who has experienced the fear or anxiety associated with doing something new or different, or taking a chance or risk in life, can relate to Peter's situation and feelings. Overall, Peter and the Parachute, by Nicola Ridgeway and James Manning, is a book that almost anyone can benefit from reading.