The flight of Mr Finch

by | Feb 16, 2019 | Book Review, Picture Book

Book Details

The flight of Mr Finch
Thomas Baas, London: Tate Publishing, hb, 978 1 8497 6590 9, £11.99, 2018, 40pp.
Picture book, 5-8 years

Mr Finch lives a quiet life in the middle of the city. He has always lived in this neighbourhood but keeps himself to himself. His only friend and companion is his little bird Pip. However, once day Pip stops singing. He seems to be unhappy. Will the plant from the deepest jungle help?

A limited palette of green with a touch of red to highlight images or details, colours the adventures of Mr Finch as he travels deeper and deeper into the jungle. Baas presents his characters against this background – or even immersed in this background – as simple line drawings which in no way detracts from their characterisation. Even the city is seen through this green veil – until the final spread where as we travel back from the jungle the green recedes though it does not disappear. Rather it balances the plain white background that seems to mirror not just the freedom Mr Finch has given to his little friend, but his own freedom from the boring routine that satisfied him before. He has found his happiness.

This is a gentle story that delivers its message in a very understated fashion. Young readers will enjoy the magical journey through the jungle – the jungle that’s perhaps the stultifying nature of his everyday life; I do have some reservations about the depiction of the kindly native which seems to me to be sadly stereotyped. The conclusion could open doors to discussion.

Review by FMH