Cover of Wings by Jane Yolen


I was asked to write a storybook about the mythical flight of Daedelus and Icarus for illustrator Susan Gallagher (also known as S. Selig.) But once I’d actually told the story and the book was accepted, she was no longer interested in the project. She later illustrated the book of adult poems Nancy Willard and I did, “Among Angels.” So there was a manuscript with no artist. I suggested Dennis Nolan and everybody was happy with the choice. Dennis used his wife, his baby, and himself as models for the gods. “Because you think of yourself as godlike?” I asked him. “No, because we’re cheap,” he answered. An absolutely gorgeous book. It has full notes about the retelling and the sources. It won the 2002 Children’s Category National Award for Outdoor Books.

There is a Brazilian translation, Asas.

See the review of the CD from Rambles – a cultural arts magazine (on the Web).

What reviewers have said:

  • “An outstanding retelling of the Greek myth of Daedelus and his son, Icarus. Tender, haunting, and mysterious, Nolan’s pictures evoke both the life of the ancient Mediterranean and the awesome presence of the gods. Yolen makes moral sense of the troubling story in this highly effective narrative, complete with a shivery Greek chorus.” — Entertainment Weekly
  • “The myth of Daedelus and Icarus is a. . .natural choice for (Yolen’s) adaptation and it is done here with a graceful style of fictional development that is respectful of the tale’s basic elements.”–Bulletin of Center for Children’s Books
  • “Yolen is in top form here in this polished, ardent retelling of rthe tragic Greek legend. . .Yolen’s elegant prose (“wingtip to wingtip they flew, writing the lines of their escape on the air”) is matched by Nolan’s sophisticated watercolors that, like the legend itself, provocatively blend reality and fantasy. . .the book is as much a tactile treat as a visual and literary one.”–Publisher’s Weekly
  • “A clear, well-balanced retelling. . .A thoughtful, attractive presentation of the themes underlying classical tragedy, as exemplified by a particularly resonant myth.”–Kirkus