Cover image for Wings
Myers, Christopher A.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
40 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Ikarus Jackson, the new boy in school, is outcast because he has wings. But his resilient spirit inspires one girl to speak up for him in this thought provoking story about celebrating individuality.
Reading Level:
AD 400 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.4 0.5 43566.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.7 1 Quiz: 21927 Guided reading level: O.
Format :


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

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Ikarus Jackson, the new boy in school, is outcast because he has wings, but his resilient spirit inspires one girl to speak up for him.

Author Notes

Christopher Myers may have inherited some of his talent from his father, Walter Dean Myers, or his grandfather, who "was a storyteller," says Myers. "His thick callused hands told stories. My father tells stories. I tell stories." "Illustrating children's books is a trip. So many people are starving for images. (There is an) image famine in African America. I think we are learning how important images are, how much they do." Myers's book, Harlem, which he collaborated on with his father, was named a Caldecott Honor Book. In reviewing it, Booklist observed that "the artist sees a concrete city composed of 'colors loud enough to be heard.'" This talented artist, who works in collages, photos, and woodcuts, graduated from Brown University and completed the independent study program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. For more information about Christopher Myers, visit:

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-9. Myers retells the myth of Icarus through the story of Ikarus Jackson, the new boy on the block, who can fly above the rooftops and over the crowd. In this contemporary version, the winged kid nearly falls from the sky, not because he flies too high and dares to go too near the sun, but because jeering kids in the schoolyard and repressive adults don't like his being different and try to break his soaring spirit. Even more than in Black Cat (1999), Myers' beautiful cut-paper collages are eloquent and open. Some urban scenes are like the elemental silhouettes in cave paintings. Some are rich and elaborate, with fluid aerial perspectives that change the way we see streets and people. Then there are the images of constraint and attack: the bullies like a monstrous Hydra with many heads; the schoolyard like a fiery sun; Ikarus' wings caught in jagged barbed wire near the classroom blackboard. In one view, he is struggling to stay in the air above oceans and continents, and in the corner of the page is a photo of derelict rowboats. The narrator of the spare text is a lonely girl, a golden figure in most of the pictures, who is reaching for the boy in flight. When she finally finds the courage to stand up to the bullies, she tells Ikarus he's beautiful and gives him the strength to fly free. The resolution is a little neat, but there's so much to talk about here--the multiple meaning of the pictures, the transformation of the myth, the hero outsider. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Once again demonstrating a masterful use of collage, Myers (Black Cat) imaginatively refutes the myth of Icarus and champions the nature of the artist. A watchful girl, ostracized by her peers for her quiet nature, narrates the story of her blossoming friendship with a new neighbor, Ikarus Jackson, whose "long, strong, proud wings followed wherever he went." Ikarus initially walks (and flies) with confidence in his red T-shirt and blue shorts, but slowly loses steam as first the students, then his teacher, and finally a policeman all criticize his unique appearance. Always depicted as a yellow silhouetted figure gracefully cut from a single piece of paper, the girl sympathizes with the hero and completes Ikarus's medley of red and blue. In this way, Myers ingeniously allows readers to identify with the narrator, admiring Ikarus's beauty of flight and individual expression. The artwork isolates and reworks elements of the myth: In the valley of Ikarus's dejection ("He struggled to stay in the air. His wings dropped and his head hung low"), the boy seems to be plummeting toward an expanse of water. In the climax, as the policeman yells at Ikarus and the neighbors "explode with laughter," Myers superimposes the boy's figure over a scene of a forest fire, and the narrator reaches out to Ikarus from across the gutter. She, too, seems to be aflame against a backdrop of swirling waterDand breaks her silence for the first time, " `Stop!' I cried. `Leave him alone.' " Myers indicates that one person appreciating another's true qualities makes life complete: the two friends seem to danceDhe in the air, she on the ground as their unique colors and shapes create a unified whole. Ages 7-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-A new boy has arrived in the neighborhood, and his name is Ikarus Jackson. Like his mythological Greek counterpart, he sports a pair of wings, only his are permanent. Taunted by schoolmates and embarrassed by his teacher, Ikarus "struggled to stay in the air. His wings drooped and his head hung low." The narrator is a shy girl whose sensitive nature has generated more than her fair share of teasing. Knowing how Ikarus feels, she quietly empathizes with his dilemma. Finally, she cannot remain a silent witness to his pain, and frees him with heartfelt words of encouragement. "I told him what someone should have long ago: `Your flying is beautiful.'" Yes, the main characters' issues are resolved too neatly and everyone lives happily ever after too easily, but Myers's artistic talent adds substance. As in Black Cat (Scholastic, 1999), his compelling illustrations evoke an urban environment in unexpected, almost magical ways. Here he uses cut-paper collage silhouettes, creating graceful representations of people. Ikarus's wings never appear forced or artificial, and the artist portrays emotion with the subtlety of a bowed head or a rigidly pointing finger. The book jacket quotes the author: "Every child has his own beauty, her own talents. Ikarus Jackson can fly through the air; I want kids to find their own set of wings and soar with him." This is a message worth sharing.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.