LIKE A WINDY DAY

Using just a few words per page, this father-and-son team creates an autumnal ode in which a girl imagines herself one with the wind. “I want to play like a windy day,” reads the opening; a framed panel shows the child gazing at the breeze above. “I want to zoom down hillsides.” With flowing hair and arms outstretched to touch a floating leaf, the wind looks just like her. Throughout, mural-like panels appear on double-page spreads; as the girl and her wind twin travel from city to countryside to seashore and back the leaf remains just out of reach. As in their first collaboration, Baby Duck’s New Friend (2001) the Asch duo’s pen-and-ink illustrations are digitally enhanced allowing for a softening of lines and a diaphanous overlay of color. In the first spread, for example, undulating layers of lavender, robin’s egg, and cornflower blue create a colorful horizon against which the ghostlike wind glides. As the girl takes flight (“I want to scatter seeds”), the dandelion she’s holding loosens its delicate spores that flow like tiny white birds above the verdant glade. The dreamlike imagery enchants and the simple text is sure to inspire interpretive movement from the preschool set. A good bet for sharing on a blustery day. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216376-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2002

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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THE CURIOUS GARDEN

Liam, a curious little boy who likes to be outside, lives in a city “without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind.” One day, while exploring an abandoned elevated railbed, he discovers a small patch of weeds and wildflowers. After a little bit of trial and error, Liam nurses his newfound plot into a “restless” garden that explores the length of the railway and, after a dormant winter, begins to find its way into the city below. Brown’s flat, faintly retro graphics make a vigorous accompaniment to his fey text, which personifies the “curious garden” with appealing earnestness. In an author’s note he describes the greening of Manhattan’s abandoned Highline, which inspired this hopeful little paean to the persistence of growing things in the dreariest places. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-01547-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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