Author/Illustrator: Tom McLaughlin
Age Group: 3-6
Synopsis: Orson uses his considerable skills to build a planet and learns to take care of it but as the planet continues to grow it becomes apparent that something else will have to change.
The Low Down:
We had such an amazing experience with Tom McLaughlin’s Cloudspotter, that as soon as I saw Up, Up, and Away I instantly became excited. I wasn’t disappointed. McLaughlin’s stories are rife with young boys whose imagination is only matched by their determination.
Orson, the main character in this tale, is no exception. He researches and succeeds in building a planet, no small feat. And when his planet becomes despondent, Orson retreats to the library to find out what he can do to help it. It begins to grow as he provides it with what every budding planet needs: water, clean oceans, and clean craters. Its gravitational pull grows as well and begins to cause problems. Orson is faced with a difficult decision but ultimately lets his planet go live among the stars where it will be happiest.
McLaughlin tackles this story with the same fun, whimsy, and creativity that are present in his other tales. Orson’s recipe for planets not only includes rocks, water, and metal but plenty of nothingness. And how else would you walk your planet but on a leash? Orson is refreshing and great role mode, facing difficulties not with frustration but with research. Once he has the information necessary then he finds solutions. This is something I still need to remind myself to do. And in the end Orson makes the mature and responsible decision not for his own good but for the good of his planet.
As parents this can sometimes be the most difficult task. I struggle to let Bug make his own mistakes already and he’s still so young. I can’t imagine how I’ll be when he starts school. But in the end we let those we love grow on their own because we love them. Up, Up, and Away is a great reminder of that, with just the perfect touch of humor making it a enjoyable read as well as an important lesson.
- Orson’s planet has a face in its early days.
- I spotted the typewriter from The Story Machine on the shelf near the box of Nothingness.
- I’ll have a make your own planet craft up in a few weeks. Keep your eyes open.
I need more!
For more on Tom McLaughlin check out my review on The Cloudspotter.
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