Title: If I Never Forever Endeavor
Author: Holly Meade
Illustrator: Holly Meade
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2011
Audience: Ages 4-7
Summary: A young fledgling perched on the edge of his/her nest looks down and has an inner debate: Shall I endeavor to fly.? If I try, I may fail. If I stay safely in my nest I may miss what it feels like to dip and glide and soar. On the one wing, I could try and look foolish. On the other wing, I could try and take flight. Tentatively the bird tries, flaps and flutters. In the last picture the fledgling sails toward the sun.
Literary elements at work in the story: The inner debate is poetry, using the phrase “If I never forever endeavor,” especially the word “endeavor”, frequently. The bird’s soliloquy is rhythmic and memorable and will be picked up by the listeners by the second reading. “Endeavor” may be a new word. . This endeavor to fly is illustrated with water color and woodblock prints., a spacious sky and a marvelous pine tree that are the perfect setting for an attempt to fly. The author/illustrator is a Caledcott honor winner. This daily, universal situation…”I can feel in the pit of my stomach: possible glory, possible failure,” says Meade. “This is a book about that choice.”
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The bird may be a male and the friend encountered may be a female but this is a guess. Birds don’t seem to be bothered by these other perspectives.
Theological Conversation Partners: A young child is required daily to try new things – make friends, acquire skills, go to school, play a game, ride a bike, learn to swim. Their lives are far more risky than we realize. Adults face the challenge to try, to dare in their lives as well. Our faith affirms three things: God is present with us in each challenge; we can trust God to help us: a disciple’s life is one of risk-taking. Biblical situations that could help us think of such risks are God’s call to Abraham, God’s call to Moses to face Pharaoh, Jesus’ call to Peter, Andrew, Matthew, Paul’s venture into Macedonia, Childhood, indeed any age, is a perfect time to commit such verses as Ps. 27:1, Phil. 4:13, Matt. 27:20 to memory. Psalm 56 is full of verses about trust that overcomes fear.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What was the bird’s problem?
- Of what was the bird afraid?
- Think of times when you need to try something new.
- How do you feel?
- Have you ever failed to try something new? Why?
- Does God plan for us to try new things?
- How does God help us?
Review prepared by guest blogger Virginia Thomas