Young Billy Hightower lives “atop the world’s tallest building.” Intent on meeting the girl he spots on a nearby high-rise’s roof, he tries several stratagems before achieving his goal.
He shouts an introduction, but the wind carries his words off. Ditto for his notes, dispatched via paper airplane and kite—each lofted beyond the girl’s reach. Most daringly, Billy launches himself into the wind, clutching the corners of a billowing red blanket. No luck—the wind not only sweeps him away, but the girl’s red hat as well. Deposited on the ground, Billy eyes towering buildings: Portis’ dizzying perspective conveys their height. Determinedly trudging against the lashing wind, Billy spies the girl’s red hat snagged on shrubbery outside a building called “Crimson Tower.” Rushing up, knocking “at the first door on the top floor” Billy finally introduces himself to the girl (who’s nameless and nonspeaking throughout). A final spread depicts the pair up on the roof, arms extending shyly along the parapet, below the text’s last words: “The Beginning….” Portis’ crisp compositions pair crayonlike black lines against white, sky blue, red, and gray. The swirling wind appears as raised, shiny lines, sweeping and curling across the cover and many interior spreads. Once Billy’s up on the roof with his new friend, though, the wind abates.
A simply told, graphically arresting tale. (Picture book. 3-5)