Air Miles


Miles is the elderly, much-loved, failing Jack Russell dog of Norman Trudge, and his mother Alice. Miles was once Motor Miles, but now he doesn’t chase balls as he did once. Nor does he walk easily, for his legs hurt. Could Norman and Alice’s neighbour, Mr Huddy, help Miles? Is it possible that the small aeroplane that he’s made could suit Miles?

After a test flight, Miles hits the skies. Thereafter, he explores the country, big cities, soars into the clouds. We travel with him, feeling exultant but also realising this is Miles’ last hoorah.

Gently, Norman helps Miles from the cockpit. Bit by bit, the little dog fails, unable to eat or walk until it’s time for his last flight…

What’s more, we know this is John Burningham’s final book, that the end papers, sketches and some pen and ink pictures are his, but his wife, finished Air Miles. Furthermore, we know that this picture book is a tribute to the couple’s own Miles, Jack Russell.

Air Miles is perfect; loving, compassionate, knowing and heart-warming. Bookwagon adores this picture book and recommends it highly.

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Air Miles

John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury

(Penguin Random House)– hardback

Norman and Alice watch their small, ‘much- loved and very difficult Jack Russell’ carefully. It seems he ‘doesn’t chase balls like he used to’. Furthermore, ‘his legs hurt when he goes for walks’. Could something new ‘cheer him up’? Maybe the neighbour, Mr Huddy, could help out? After all, he helped create Motor Miles. It seems he’s been making an aeroplane. Furthermore, he needs to ‘find a pilot who’s small enough to sit in the cockpit‘ Could this be Norman’s Jack Russell? Could this be Air Miles?
Thereafter, Norman’s small, elderly dog, learns to fly. Although he’s tired, he flies and flies again, ‘over the lakes and the hills’ and ‘along the coast’ and ‘into the clouds’ and ‘at night’ across the country and ‘big cities’. However, after every flight, Norman must help their dog out of the cockpit. Then, bit by bit, Miles grows slower and stops going for walks and eating. Could this be the time for his final flight?
Poignantly, lovingly, movingly, Helen Oxenbury completes the final picture book of her husband, John Burningham. Not only is this an homage to a maestro of picture book making, but a loving tribute to the couple’s Jack Russell dog.
Air Miles soars and clutches at our hearts and minds. We travel with the Jack Russell, realising the wonder of the world, of living and the love of those in our lives too. Thereafter, the sketches, sequence, pen and ink pictures are empathetic and beautiful. Bookwagon adores and recommends this truly wonderful picture book.


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