If you be brave and try just once /
I’ll fly right next to you.
The reassurance of a mommy bird is the key to confidence as the time for first flight arrives. In a tree within sight of a mountain she coaches and models the steps for her children to follow. Of three baby birds two are eager to go and the smallest is concerned about what could go wrong. The mommy is patient gentle and empowering:
Just because you are the smallest /
Doesn’t mean you’re not as strong /
There’s a great big world for you to see /
It’s the place where you belong.
Each page advances the story with a four-line stanza arranged in an ABCB rhyme scheme. The balance between action and speech is right on for the targeted age group. An implicit message is a corollary to the metaphor of flight: learning speed varies often for reasons other than relative intelligence. Though two siblings get the knack quickly they are happiest when the last one equals their accomplishment.
This book misses realizing its full potential because of the illustrations. They don’t communicate enough nuances or the personalities of the bird characters and their composition varies little from page to page. Thirteen of eighteen plates feature a tree trunk as a horizontal divider.
Jeanne N. Greener is a mother of two who volunteers at her children’s elementary school. The intended audience is on the cusp of preschool or kindergarten preparing to venture out of the family nest and try out their abilities. It Never Hurts to Try communicates an upbeat worldview an affirmative acceptance which is so necessary to emotional health and academic success.