Parachute by Danny Parker and Matt Ottley

parachute cover

When we’re little, there’s an awful lot of stuff that’s bigger than we are. And it makes for a very scary world for a little boy named Toby.  Toby is quite afraid of heights,
and carries a parachute which “was most useful for getting out of bed in the morning, for when he finished breakfast, and after he brushed his teeth.”

It’s the illustrator’s brilliant use of exaggerated foreshortening and perspective that shows that each of these events is terrifying for Toby, and why. The view from his bunkbed to the floor below is like a trip downward through clouded heavens and alighting the kitchen stool akin to repelling from a rooftop.


The story takes us along Toby’s daily journey. I love Matt Ottley’s brilliant use of cropping the character off the pages. When Toby’s cat needs to be rescued, Toby bravely climbs up, up into the treehouse and heroically uses his parachute to lower Henry safely to the ground. But now, a very scared Toby is left up high without his safety net. The illustrator amps up the visual tension even more by exaggerating the vastness of the universe in absolutely unbelievable proportions. Slowly, Toby overcomes his fear and realizes that he doesn’t need his parachute after all.

When we’re older it seems silly and absurd to be scared of climbing down from a stool, or standing next to an enormous elephant. But Matt Ottley’s magnificent illustrations show us that fear from the child’s perspective and  reminds that big or small, we all have our own fears and challenges to overcome.

Thank you!!!!


Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. Carrying a parachute around may seem silly, but how many adults carry a lucky pen, or a lucky four leaf clover or some other such trinket when they feel they need extra support.
    I have read the book, Parachute, and the drawings are spectacular in perspective. I enjoyed your review.

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed the review and the book! Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

  3. I thought this was a well-done book. Thanks for sharing it in cyberspace 🙂

  4. Angie Quantrell

    I love it! The illustrations and the story line sound fabulous. Thanks for sharing. It’s going on my list for search and read. 🙂

  5. Sounds like a lovely book! Thanks for sharing!

  6. A wonderful example of how illustrations can magnify an author’s words. Time to search this one out. Thanks!

  7. Yes, thanks for bringing more attention to this one–I’ll have to look for it. It looks like a fun one to study!

  8. Wow — gorgeous art, and wonderful post! Loved it.

  9. Jennifer, thanks for highlighting this book! It looks like a “must have”!!

  10. I can definitely relate to Toby’s fear–a parachute would be a very handy thing to have! This looks adorable, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I think many of us can identify with Toby! I love how his hair stands on end.

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