Fly away, my friends.
You are free now!
Free is a clever story about freedom, bureaucracy, and creative problem-solving. The heroine is a little girl who uses her wits and free thinking to overcome obstacles put forth by complex rules and regulations.
A little girl, Paloma, and a gentleman headline a circus starring a great flock of birds. The show is so popular that the Governor has requested a performance. However, the avian convoy is halted at the border by an overly fastidious border agent who begins to ramble off the long list of documents and forms required for the crossing. The performers are flummoxed by the excessive red tape until Paloma comes up with an ingenious idea. The girl and the gentleman open the cages and allow the birds to fly away. Then, the pair are permitted to drive the truck with empty cages across the border. However, much to the dismay of the border agent, the enormous flock of birds then shoots across the sky and catches up with the convoy. At the end of the story, Paloma and the gentleman allow the birds to fly freely alongside the truck to their destination.
As a reader, I was surprised by the creative solution that the little girl came up with to solve their conundrum. The story echoes the title of the book, Free, not just in the sense of the birds flying freely but also in terms of an open and unfettered mind.
The colourful, evocative artwork in Free will capture the imagination of many readers. The multi-talented author from France has woven his story and the illustrations to create a lighthearted, humorous, and thought-provoking experience.
Yina Liu is a doctoral student in language and literacy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.