Tuesday, May 12, 2015

When the Wind Blows by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Jana Christy

The cover picture here does not do justice to Christy's glowing, soft colors, so you'll just have to trust me - they're gorgeous.

Rhyming couplets in a small, white type are set unobtrusively at the corners of the page. The language is pleasant, but not memorable. Every few pages the refrain of the title is repeated, followed by several pages of couplets. "When the wind blows...Trees dance./Spiders curl./Mice shiver./Leaves swirl."

The real draw of this book, and what made me fall in love with what wouldn't normally be my cup of tea, is Jana Christy's art. It not only glows, it perfectly captures the swirl and dash of the wind. The art was created with pencil sketches and mixed media, then assembled and painted digitally. It gives the illusion of watercolors, but with richer colors and intriguing lines and textures in the background. The pictures follow a family; grandmother clad in bright pink, little boy in a green jacket, mom and the baby in a stroller, as they excitedly venture forth on a windy day. First they fly a kite in a windy field, with the grass swirling with colors. Then it's down to the seaside, where the boats are bobbing along. They walk along the beach and up into town. It's begun to rain and there are puddles to splash in. They visit the park, hats and leaves flying through the air around them. The storm is building and they hurry home, wet and tired but happy, to watch the rain through the window. A warm bath and it's time for one last cuddle before bed.

Verdict: Perfect for toddlers at a rain-themed storytime, or looking at with older kids and talking about what's happening in the weather in each picture. Or just cuddle up and read before bed on a windy, rainy day. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780399160158; Published February 2015 by G. P. Putnam's Songs/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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