Sparrow by Brian Kindall

Sparrow by Brian Kindall
Publisher: Diving Boy Books
Genre: Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A boy. A wish. A secret desire gone horribly wrong.

Timothy Sperling misses his mom and dad terribly. Left behind with his morose uncle while they’re off on an expedition to avert an environmental crisis, the bird-boned boy would give anything to see them again. But when he spies a shooting star, instead of wishing to be reunited with his parents, he falters and asks for snow… only to conjure up a blizzard that won’t quit!

As a town that never sees winter is buried in mountains of white, Timothy teams up with a wise explorer to figure out how to stop the relentless frozen flakes. And with all the blame being shoveled on his family, the clever kid’s connection to sparrows may be his one chance to pull the city out of its deep freeze.

Can Timothy undo his fateful wish and bring back the sunshine?

Sparrow is a high-flying middle grade novel. If you or your child like relatable characters, timeless settings, and high-stakes adventure, then you’ll love Brian Kindall’s feathered flurries.

Wishes can change the world, so be careful how you phrase them.

Some of the most memorable scenes were the ones that explored guilt and regret. Timothy’s uncle had made a terrible mistake many years ago that still haunted their family when this tale began. There were also some things that Timothy himself regretted doing, so uncle and nephew were on similar journeys to fix the troubles that they’d caused. It was fascinating to see how both of these characters approached the question of how best to do that, especially for the problems they were dealing with that didn’t seem to have easy solutions at all.

It would have been helpful to have a little more time spent on world building. I was intrigued by what was included, but there was never quite enough of it for me to feel immersed in the city of Candela or in the lives of the people who lived there. Having more details about this community in general and how it functioned would have gone a long way in giving me the opportunity to lose myself in their world. If this had been included, I would have happily chosen a five-star rating instead.

I adored the way magic was used in this book. Sometimes it flowed so quietly that it would have been easy to overlook it entirely. Other scenes included more obvious examples of how it worked, but even then it fit into the landscape so seamlessly that characters didn’t always necessarily realize just how special those experiences were. Occasionally, it was so blatant that no one could deny it, but in every case I loved seeing how the characters reacted to the existence of magic in their universe and how even the smallest choices they made could be magically amplified in all sorts of clever ways.

Sparrow was a delightful winter read.

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