My dad's a birdman ISBN: 9781406304862
Published by Walker, 2007
This is a lovely, beautiful, life-enhancing book! A short novel for younger readers, with glorious illustrations, it has much to say about our approach to mental illness, while at the same time being a fantasy. Lizzie's dad is convinced he will be able to fly, and he enters the Great Human Bird Competition and makes himself wings. Lizzie is the role-reversal parent in this family, and as she adores her fey father (and misses her dead mother) she goes along with his ideas, while at the same time worrying about him. Auntie Doreen, a larger than life character, is horrified by their goings on, which include building a giant nest in the kitchen. When all the contestants in the Great Human Bird Competition fall into the river in their abortive attempts to fly, Lizzie and her dad know that the experience was all, and that 'It didn't matter that they fell.' Even Auntie Doreen, with her delicious dumplings, comes round to enjoying their crazy antics. Lizzie sees her father as he is and is able to enjoy and join in with is unusual ideas. Surely a lesson for all in how to treat the 'different' amongst us.