The tailor Pierre has a big dream: He wants to fly. To make this outlandish vision a reality, he decides to sew a garment that is up to the task: his very own, resplendent bird coat. But can a human really become a bird with anything but disastrous results? This is a fantastical story of the imagined selves that we dream into being, and the hubris that can come hand-in-hand with these imaginings. Illustrated in the distinctive hand of award-winning Norwegian illustrator Øyvind Torseter, this tale was inspired by the true story of Franz Reichelt, dubbed "the flying tailor," who in 1912 jumped from the Eiffel Tower in an attempt at flight.
★ “What are the stories we tell children? … This Norwegian import is an odd tale but an atmospheric one. And for that niche group of readers who check out Edward Gorey books for their sense of foreboding and dry-as-the-desert wit, this will be a welcome addition. Part caricature, part Tomi Ungerer, the illustrations are refreshingly different from most picture books today. It’s a strange story, but strange things can be good… Offbeat but excellent—sure to stay with readers and provoke conversation.” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“A book about death for young children, without the usual solemnity of the topic… Cartoonlike illustrations bring lightness to this story of death, life, and dreams, and of the grief beyond which life must go on. Based on an actual 1912 incident, this is a work about death, but without pathos or pity. In an afterword, the author explains her desire to write about this difficult topic for children (and adults) without darkness, but to show that it is part of life. Recommended for use when teaching or explaining death to young children. For its very unique take on the subject of death and carrying on despite it, this is a beautiful addition to the shelves on grief and coping with loss.” —School Library Journal
"Inspired by the real-life figure of Franz Reichelt (1878–1912), Kjølstadmyr’s story is dismaying, provocative—and moving. Torseter riffs on the reportorial narrative with fluidly inked sketches that portray Pierre as humanoid with the tusks and spindly trunk of an elephant. But beyond the telling, the creators leave only more unanswered questions: Where is the line between a dream and reality? When does one become complicit in another’s folly? How inscrutable is the human heart?" —Publishers Weekly