Three heavenly powers look down upon a shepherd girl and bet which one can knock her cap off.
Young’s atmospheric, textured artwork conjures the natural forces vying to mess with a mortal’s cap in this loose retelling of an old Aesop’s fable. Photographs, fabric, and paper (sometimes torn, sometimes cut) cohere in evocative collages that capture both the expansive powers of Wind, Rain, and Sun as well as the young girl’s brown skin, cheekbones, eyelashes, and strands of ebony hair. Weather blows, mists, and shines in teeming double-page, full-bleed spreads. Occasional sharp lines and solid color (the red cap serves as a cardinal beacon) give readers sound footing to navigate the complex collages. Distinguishing landmasses, sheep, the girl, and sky from one another sometimes requires squinting, but looking at these challenging compositions feels exhilarating—like standing, happily drenched, in a swirling storm. Cowan’s simple, consistent rhyme provides reassuring scaffolding that keeps readers from blowing away. Upon hearing the pleasing verse “For with the passing morning storm, / She laughed her cap off as she got warm,” young people will feel warmth spread in their little souls too. Frontmatter explicates the symbols assigned to Wind, Rain, and Sun, which were created using Chinese pictograms and appear throughout.
Awe-inspiring artwork as powerful as any force of nature. (Picture book. 4-10)