What Goes Up Author: Paula Bowles Illustrator: Paula Bowles
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Format: Picture Books

Age Range: 3-7 years

Character Traits: Perseverance

Publication Date: March 2013

BISAC: JUV002270

Pages: 32

Book Format Detail: Hardcover

Retail Price: $12.95

ISBN-13: 9781589251199

ISBN-10: 1-58925-119-9

Dimensions: 9-1/4" x 10-1/4" x 3/8"

Martin the dragon is sad. He longs to fly, but his wings are just too small. He tries flying like a bumblebee, a leaf, and a cloud. But . . . CRASH! It’s no use. “What goes up, must come down,” sighs Martin. It’s up to the village’s children to teach Martin how to go up and stay up through practice, imagination, help, and learning to believe in one’s self.

Lexile: AD540

November 1, 2013, Horn Book Guide

Martin the dragon is willing to do anything to fly, including painting bumblebee stripes on himself and dressing up like a cloud. But his wings are too small--until a group of children help him exercise every day and believe in himself. Charming and bright watercolor illustrations elevate this message-y story of the benefits of friendship and perseverance. 

February 15, 2013, Kirkus Reviews

It takes a village of curious children to cheer up a sad dragon. Three children find Martin, a big green dragon with drooping yellow wings, at the bottom of a hill one day. He longs to fly, but he explains that his wings are too small. Just then, a bumblebee buzzes by. Martin figures that stripes must be the key to flying, so he paints himself some sloppy stripes and leaps into the air. Luckily, the children are there to help him when he takes a fall. Martin notices the floating leaves and tries perching in a tree...until the law of gravity intervenes. The same unhappy result occurs when he tries to wrap himself in dandelion fluff in order to behave like a cloud. Martin is at his lowest point ever, but the children come up with an idea: "You just have to believe." Inexplicably (if sensibly) modeling exercise rather than sheer faith, they run and flap their arms, sometimes holding colorful leaves, and Martin follows. Day after day they practice, and Martin's wings become stronger and stronger. (He rides a tricycle to go faster.) His wings become big and beautiful, and one day, he goes up but doesn't come down. He can fly with a little help from his friends. Bowles' visual message is strong, but it's too bad she relies on bromides in her prose. 

June 1, 2013, School Library Journal

Martin is a sad dragon situated at the base of an extremely steep hill. His friends, children from the village, are concerned for his well-being and enquire about his unhappiness. Flapping his small wings, he sighs, "What goes up, must come down." Because of his undersized wings and very large body, Martin is unable to fly. Suddenly inspired by a buzzing bee, he paints stripes on his body in a misguided attempt at flight. He later tries sitting in a tree to replicate a falling leaf and, later still, he mimics a fluffy cloud by rolling in dandelion fluff and leaping. Unsurprisingly, nothing works. Then, the children run, and Martin cruises around them on a tricycle while flapping his wings and thinking lofty thoughts. They repeat this activity daily, increasing wing size and strength. One day, they make it to the top of the hill, and Martin loses control, hurtling over a cliff. His now-strong and lovely wings carry him over the cheering crowd. The watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture the dragon's emotional plight well. Readers will enjoy this positive story of hard work and friendship. Laura Hunter, Mount Laurel Library, NJ.