Awhile back, Audible had this sale on under reviewed audiobooks and made them like $5, I bought the longer books and then for the really short ones that I was curious about, I went to the library. On The Wings Of Heroes by Richard Peck was definitely the perfect length of audiobook to borrow from the library. I was curious, but not curious enough to spend $5 on four hours of narration. I know, I know that makes me incredibly cheap. While I enjoyed On The Wings Of Heroes and the themes of family and the American home front of World War II, I did not fall head over heels in love with it and thus am glad I chose to borrow rather than purchase.
It’s a little hard for me to remember the plot of On The Wings Of Heroes because I listened to it a few months ago, but I suppose I’ll give it a whirl. Okay, so the main character is Davy Bowman who is this American kid during World War II. His family is completely wonderful. His Dad gets totally pumped up over Halloween (I totally approve) and has this great relationship with both of his kids, Davy and brother Bill. Speaking of which, Bill is a pilot, and he decides to join up with the war effort. There’s not like one big problem to solve with On The Wings Of Heroes by Richard Peck, but more that we get this snapshot of what life was like for those on the home front while missing family members in the military.
I think for me, the main theme that resonated with me while reading and listening to On The Wings Of Heroes was what it’s like to be someone left behind. Davy and his parents carry worry over Bill, yet they still have to live their lives. They can’t exactly be like — come home, don’t do your duty for the country and you guys, I get that, sort of. I mean, anyone who has family in the military can commiserate. I think Peck paints such a sympathetic picture of this family and their love and fear for Bill. We also get to see the war touch Davy’s life in more subtle ways. Like, we all learned about rationing and the scrap efforts in school, but it’s different reading about a person living it. Okay, that sentence made NO sense, I guess what I am trying to get across is that while I love history and history books, I think that I relate better when I am attached to a character who is living in the time period I am learning about, and thus retain more knowledge. What really stayed with me was just how loving the Bowmans are, and how they have each other’s back. It’s a refreshing change from dysfunction.
As for the narration, it was the reason I wanted to listen to On The Wings Of Heroes in the first place, after coming across it in the sale. Richard Peck’s book is narrated by Lincoln Hoppe who also narrated Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt which I loved. Unfortunately, the narration was not as great as Okay For Now, I think it was because Hoppe wasn’t doing a New York accent, which is I love because it is familiar to me. He does have a boyish enthusiasm to his voice which is great within the context of the story, but within the context of my ears, not exactly my favorite. However, because On The Wings Of Heroes is older than Okay For Now, I think that Hoppe is like a fine wine, gets better with experience and all. Rambling aside, On The Wings Of Heroes by Richard Peck is an incredibly short listen and is appropriate for middle grade children, I’d say 4th grade and up, and a rather decent listen, but not among my top twenty.
Disclosure: Borrowed from the library.