I admit I was not a fan of Phelan's Storm in the Barn as a whole. But I've always loved his art and this collaboration with Jeanne Birdsall is pure genius.
Finally, finally a really good wind story! I do at least one wind storytime in October or November and would love to do more if I could just find some better books. Pat Hutchins' The Wind Blew just doesn't work for storytime, and I've never been a fan of Hutchins anyways. Iva Dunnit and the Big Wind by Carol Purdy and Whoosh went the wind by Sally Derby are too long and the kids get restless. Sometimes they like McMillan's How the ladies stopped the wind and sometimes they don't. So basically it's just me and Ehlert's Leaf Man.
Until now. Flora is mad at her little brother Crispin. He makes a mess and then SHE gets blamed! Her mom sends them both outside, despite Flora's worry that the wind will blow them away. Flora puts on her "super-special heavy-duty red boots" and knows she'll be fine. But Crispin just has regular old purple boots. It won't be Flora's fault if he blows away...and he does! As Flora chases Crispin through the sky, she meets a series of creatures and elements that have a use for Crispin - but in the end, she decides she wants him most of all, thank you very much.
The longer text of this story is balanced by the brisk, swirling illustrations and Flora's changeable expressions, showing just how her mind works as she deals with the wind's demands. Crispin's blank bewilderment and joyful acceptance of his unexpected outing is hilarious. The lovely colors and fanciful language will hold kids' attention, even if they're not close enough to see the nuances of the art and both older and younger siblings will sympathize with Flora's frustration.
Verdict: Highly recommended. Now I just need a couple more wind stories and I'll have the best wind storytime ever...
ISBN: 9780618986767; Published August 2010 by Clarion; Review copy provided by publisher for Cybils