By Franklin Hill, Ph.D.
Illustrated by Aries Cheung
“I’m tired of being a plain old turtle,” says Myrtle, the main character in Wings Within, “I want to be a BUTTERFLY!” Myrtle thinks butterfly thoughts and imagines that if she tucks into her shell she will be able to grow beautiful wings and fly. Try as she might, though, Myrtle remains a turtle.
Myrtle’s friend Anew, a butterfly, understands the problem. She suggests that Myrtle consider what makes her special just as she is, and that that will help her “find her wings.” Myrtle says to herself, “We each have wings to set us free. I must find the wings that are right for me.”
When Myrtle wakes up in the morning, she still doesn’t have wings, but this time she finds a way to be useful just the way she is. A caterpillar has fallen into the water, and the butterfly Anew, with her delicate wings, cannot help him. Without even thinking, Myrtle dives into the water to rescue the caterpillar, and in doing so realizes that her flippers are a lot like wings. She is finally happy from within herself, and stops looking to others to find her happiness.
Aries Cheung’s illustrations in Wings Within are bright but soft, and many children reading at the second grade level will enjoy the cartoon-like expressions on the characters’ faces. The story, by author and educational futurist Franklin Hill, Ph.D, is strongly message-driven, and teachers who are interested in sharing that message might like to use this as a read-aloud book. Questions in the back of the book will help readers think more deeply about the story and how it could apply to their own lives.