Hollywood headliner Ross, who shepherded to the big screen blockbusters such as Big, Seabiscuit, Pleasantville and, most recently, The Hunger Games, here takes flight with his first poetic venture involving a bedsheet, a boy and a whole lot of imagination.
When a magical “Grandaddy of Winds” blows through the town of Fairview, 10-year-old Bartholomew Biddle grabs the sheet off his bed and thrillingly lofts into the night sky. The wind first spirits Bart to a tropical island, where he befriends some gnarly-looking pirates, who turn out to be sweet and generous, and learns appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. “You’d have to be daft,” admonishes one of the pirates, “to go through this life / judging books by their covers. / If you jump to conclusions, / what’s left to discover?” On his next flight, Bart makes the acquaintance of one Densmore Horatio Pool, a boy of similar age who longs to fly but initially lacks Bart’s courage to “dare to be daring / when no one will dare you.” Densy eventually defies convention, using a school banner to fly to meet Bart, whose third adventure has landed him in a windless canyon where the formerly fearless inhabitants are now literally “stuck in the doldrums.” Throughout this witty verse novella, themes of self-reliance, kindness and a belief in all things in moderation resound, and Myers’ enchanting, richly textured oils heighten the serious fun spurring the lighthearted didacticism.
With a seductively Seuss-ean cadence, Ross’ verse adventure delightfully dares young and old to seize the day. (Verse fantasy. 6-11)