Newberry-winning author of A Year Down Yonder
We went on a road trip to beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho last week as a family. We had a wonderful time, and part of that wonderful time is attributable to this great book, by one of my favorite authors. My husband and I both really enjoyed it, and my boys thought it was good- although we had to skip the scary porch story telling in order to make sure we weren’t up all night with ghostly imaginings.
Lincoln Hoppe, the voice for the story was absolutely spell-binding. Especially his old lady voices, “Where’s mine? Where’s mine?” the old lady asking for her cake had us giggling in appreciation at his excellent portrayals.
This is Peck’s 30th novel for young adults and was written to pay tribute to his father, a WWI veteran. You will see the resemblance to the father in the book who is also a WWI vet. It makes you wonder how much Davy resembles Peck himself. Davy and his friend get themselves into all kinds of scrapes and trouble- just the kind you would imagine all boys getting into during WWII. Cobwebby attics and buckshot filled barns- along with street games that make you pine for simpler days. Not easier, just simpler because communities were more cohesive and people really looked out for one another.
Davy’s older brother Bill is everyone’s hometown hero. When he goes off to fly B-17s in WWII, your heart drops into your stomach because you want so much for him to come home safe. I was incredulous to learn that when his plane was shot down, it didn’t count toward his quota of missions to fly because the mission wasn’t completed. That’s just idiotic- but I’m sure it happened more than once.
I think this book would make a great gift for either my father or father-in-law. My only complaint, and I think it would be their’s as well is the boy scout part. Davy gives up on boy scouts because he is so disappointed by some of the things other scouts do- one scout in particular, who falls from his place as a knight in shining armor when he participates in stealing papers from younger scouts in order to win a medal for a war-effort paper drive. Davy doesn’t see the point of scouts after that and hangs up his gold and blue bandana forever. As we all know, there are people who don’t have integrity in every organization and if we base our decision to be part of an organization on the integrity of every individual therein, we wouldn’t be a part of anything. I was disappointed that Davy’s parents let him so easily give up on a great program for kids.
So, I was talking to Cari and she said that she was planning on reviewing this book, and I told her I was too. Since I listened to it on audio and I wanted to make sure to include how wonderful Hoppe’s voice work was, I won the coin toss (okay, it wasn’t exactly a coin toss). This isn’t a double scoop (although it’s really good, and quite possibly could have made the cut, but we already have a Richard Peck book on the list). But, just so Cari can add her two cents, now it’s her turn:
Well let’s see I read On Wings of Heroes back in January and it was on my to be reviewed list. I was talking to Holly and come to find out she just listened to it on audio. What are the chances that we would both read and want to review the same book, especially when we had already planned a doublescoop for one of his other books? Anyway I fell in love with Richard Peck’s writing then and there. His writing is genius, the words flow and bounce through your head like a delightful stream. I loved his characters. They are so full of life. And then there are the pranks, which makes me wonder what his childhood was like. If I wanted to play a practical joke Richard Peck would be one of my sources for coming up with one.
I appreciated the way he told what life was like during WWII, not only was Bill off fighting the war, but everyone dealt with rations. Rations for sugar, for tires, for shoes and gas. Everyone was affected even if they were not a soldier. You also saw the struggle of both Davy’s parents – his dad who had been injured in WWI so he knew the harsh realities of war and wondered about Bill’s safety. And then his mother trying to deal with her son, gone and maybe dead while trying to support the war effort at the same time. On Wings of Heroes is the right mix of humor and realism to give you a feel for what war was like on the home front.