Fern loves Nanna‘s butterfly cakes, her mantelpiece mice, her white cat, Snowball, and most of all, she loves Nanna. But recently, Nanna has become sad, and she’s stopped baking and dusting. Even Snowball seems listless.
Mom can’t explain Nanna’s sadness, simply saying, “It’s like the joy has gone out of her life.” Understanding joy as the feeling she gets when she goes “whooshing down a slide,” Fern takes every container she can find to the park to catch some “whooosh!” for Nanna. When she sees a cute puppy, Fern feels a whooosh! but can’t catch it in her cardboard box. Fern gets the same feeling from a laughing baby, she but can’t catch it with her decorated coffee can, nor can her butterfly net catch the shimmer of sunlight on water. Fern walks home with heavy feet. Nanna asks her what’s wrong, and Fern tells her all that she saw and shares her disappointment at failing to catch a whooosh! for Nanna—which prompts a glowing “whooosh! of a smile” from Nanna. The repetition and patterning in Averiss’ text are appealing, and Fern’s emotions and concern will be familiar to many children. Follath’s delicate illustrations make the whooosh! visual as a green, sparkly swoosh. While it’s good to see Fern’s can-do attitude, her easy success belies the hard work that is recovery from depression. Fern and her family present white; Nanna uses a wheelchair.
Heartwarming. (Picture book. 3-7)