Cover image for Without wings, mother, how can I fly?
Without wings, mother, how can I fly?
Farber, Norma.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holt, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm
A mother's responses reassure her child when he wonders how he can do the many things animals can do without their natural abilities.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A little boy is full of questions. He wants to know how he can fly like a bird, swim like a fish, and climb like a monkey. And each time he asks a new question, his mother finds a reassuring answer. Keiko Narahashi's warm and imaginative drawings are perfectly suited to Norma Farber's ter text. Children and parents alike will love the creative solutions to children's everyday wishes in this sweet and playful story.

Author Notes

Norma Farber was an author, poet, singer, actress, wife, and mother of four, all of which she considered equally important vocations. She wrote more than twenty children's books, including I Swim an Ocean in My Sleep , as well as several volumes of poetry. Norma Farber passed away in 1984. Keiko Narahashi is the illustrator of several picture books, including I Have a Friend and Is That Josie? . Born in Japan, she grew up in North Carolina and Woods Hole, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design. Ms. Narahashi lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 3^-6. Farber's simple poem, published posthumously, will draw preschoolers in with its loving question-and-answer rhyme between a child and his mother. Each time he asks her how he can do something that is natural to animals--fly, swing, camouflage himself, swim--and each time she gives him tools and techniques to do as the animals do. He can fly in a plane. He can change his skin by wearing a jacket. Narahashi's joyful watercolors reveal the animal behavior on the left-hand page and the playful human actions on the opposite page. When the child asks, "Without a trunk, what can I do for a shower?" there's a picture of him splashing with the elephants; on the opposite page is a picture of his mother's answer: "Stand under the sprinkler some sunny hour." Children will enjoy the playful animal connections, both wild and snugly warm. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2ÄIn a rhyming question-and-answer format, a young boy wonders how he can do the things that animals do. While playing outdoors he asks, "Without a trunk,/what can I use for a shower?" and his mother replies, "Stand under the garden sprinkler,/some sunny hour." "But without a shell,/how can I keep from harm?" is answered by "Here, right here,/safe in the curve of my arm." While the rhymes are not inspired, they do establish a coherent connection between the human and animal worlds. Narahashi supports this bond in her soft, watercolor paintings by first providing a vignette that shows the boy interacting with or imitating the animal in questionÄhe might be snuggled up against a bear or wrapped up tight in a silky cocoon. The facing full-page illustration then shows the child engaged in the parallel activity suggested by his mother. The sun-drenched landscapes are rendered in vibrant greens and watery blues and the final indoor scenes are bright and airy as well. The book exudes a sense of security and love between the mother and child that is implied rather than explicitly stated.ÄMartha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.