Henry is a paperboy who is left feeling glum from the depressing headlines in the newspaper. I hear ya Henry! Henry muses that everything would be better if the superhero Falconman was there. In the comic strip Falconman, there is a mystical falcon who transfers his power of flight to a state trooper, transforming him into Falconman. Unfortunately, the falcon is rendered flightless and does not regain the power until the trooper and falcon return to the original transfer site.
After finishing his reading, Henry hops on his bike and sets out on his route. Unexpectedly, a sparrow swoops down and lands smack dab in Henry's path. He slams on the brakes to avoid a collision and is propelled over the handlebars. To his amazement, instead of crashing to the ground, he soars in the air. Henry has becomes . . . Sparrowboy!
Brian Pinkney illustrations are very distinctive because he paints using the "scratchboard technique". Here is a link to his website http://www.brianpinkney.net/main.html where the process is explained. For someone like me, without an ounce of artistic talent, I am awed by illustrators, because drawing and painting is completely outside the realm of my capabilities.
As an African American family, I am always happy to find books that feature characters that bear some physical resemblance to my children. It is very rare to find African American boys as superheros, so I was extra eager when I found The Adventures of Sparrowboy a few years ago. My boys love any superhero, regardless of race, but I think they feel a special connection to this book, because they can see themselves in Henry. In addition to pretending to be Superman, Spiderman, Batman, they also pretend to be Sparrowboy. I am a fan of Brian Pinkney and his wife Andrea Pinkney with whom he often collaborates. Our personal collection contains many of their books. I hope to showcase more of their talent in the future.