A Wish for Wings That Work

A Wish for Wings That Work

Author Berkeley Breathed
Illustrator Berkeley Breathed
Cover artist Berkeley Breathed
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's
Publisher Little Brown & Co
Publication date
Pages 32
ISBN 0-316-10691-7

A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story is a children's book by Berkeley Breathed that was published in 1991. It was made into an animated television special that same year. The story is 30 pages long, and contains large color pictures every other page, and small black and white ones over the writing.


The story centers on Opus the Penguin (who was at the time one of the main characters in Breathed's comic strip Outland.) Opus is downhearted because, as a penguin, he cannot fly. He orders a machine and assembles it; when it comes time to test the machine by jumping off a three-mile-high cliff, Opus decides to do something less dangerous, and goes home to make anchovy Christmas cookies. He does not give up on his dream though, and makes a Christmas wish to Santa Claus for "wings that will go!" On Christmas Eve, Santa is making his usual delivery when he loses his reindeer and crashes into a lake. Opus jumps in and uses his natural swimming skills to pull Santa out. To thank Opus for his daring rescue, a group of ducks pick him up and take him flying through the air.

TV special

A Wish for Wings that Work

2007 DVD cover
Directed by Skip Jones
Produced by Peggy Regan
Written by Berkeley Breathed
Starring Michael Bell
Joe Alaskey
John Byner
Tress MacNeille
Alexaundria Simmons
Andrew Hill Newman
Frank Welker
Robin Williams
Dustin Hoffman
Music by Thomas Chase
Steve Rucker
Edited by Larry C. Cowan
Distributed by Amblin Television
Universal Cartoon Studios
Release dates
December 18, 1991
Country United States
Language English

On December 18, 1991, an animated special based on the book aired on CBS.[1][2] It was directed by Skip Jones and was produced by Peggy Regan for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television for Universal Cartoon Studios.[3] It was released on DVD on November 6, 2007.

Critical reception

Lisa Horowitz of Variety gave the special a positive review, saying that it "crams a lot of action and intelligence into its half-hour." She also praised the animation and vocal performances.[2]

Breathed, who was credited as the writer and executive producer of the special, was disappointed with the overall results. Asked in a 2003 Washington Post interview where a copy of the special could be found on VHS or DVD, Breathed replied

Hopefully in the rubbish pail. We can do better than that and we will with an eventual Opus film... but I'm glad you enjoyed it. I presume your family was on speed when they watched it. I would imagine it helps.

In a 2007 interview, Breathed said that the reason he disliked the special was simply "unspectacular ratings" and that his humor "wasn't meant for television, even if it was done right." Other reasons were his "lack of writing experience" and a director who was in way over his head. Breathed said that he had wanted Sterling Holloway to provide the voice for Opus.


External links

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