This depiction of the stratosphere in its ever-shifting splendor offers a catalog of concepts for young readers.
Arms outstretched, smiling face raised and backlit with the rising sun’s glow, the child on the cover radiates infectious joy. Readers follow him (and his family and stuffed monkey) through a series of double-page spreads during which the firmament changes from “Cloud Sky / Rain Sky / Storm Sky” to the eventual “Wish Sky / Sleep Sky / Dream Sky.” There is no particular rhythm or rhyme scheme; the text (shaped, colored and decorated to support the message) simply declares possible and imagined changes in a 24-hour period. Wood’s decision to use pastel paper in deep colors for the backgrounds and compose with gouache highlights and colored pencils contributes to the sensory delight. Vibrant and marvelous as her lines are, it is the texture and tint of the underlying paper that maximizes the sizzle of the sunset and the connection between the lavender moonlight and its reflection in the sea. Compositions vary from scenes in which the dramatic patterns of natural phenomena overwhelm viewers to spacious spreads offering visual rest. The cycle and book close when the cover image is paired with “New Sky.”
A high-voltage stimulus package that encourages close observation of and imaginative thinking about nature, not to mention playing with print to express ideas. (Picture book. 18 mos.-6)