A fluttering line of autumn leaves flying across every double-page spread announces the wind’s presence.
Autumn Wind is a character here, inviting all the forest animals to the “annual Windfall Ball.” The event is not just a night’s entertainment, but the opportunity for the animals to gather the food they each need for the long winter ahead. As Swenson explains to adults at the end, a “windfall” can be “fruit or other crops blown down by the wind” or “an unexpected gift or good fortune.” As part of the harvest season, in the northern woods of the United States, the author’s home, the wind does its natural part in bringing down foods that can be eaten, or gathered and stored according to their needs, by the region’s animals, some hibernating, some able to live through harsh winters, and some who migrate to southern areas. This fanciful depiction in rhyme of the invisible wind that affects many animals with its hospitality scans well. “Then Autumn Wind began to dance— / It breezed, / it blew, / it puffed, / it pranced. / Beckoning both big and small / To join in step at the Windfall Ball.” There are plenty of animals to spot in the soft, yet vibrant mixed media illustrations that combine the use of watercolor, tempera, and colored pencils with digital retouching: rabbits, bears, raccoons, elk, and quail, among them. This satisfying book for the fall season emphasizes the interconnectivity of nature.
Soothing at bedtime yet with enough substance for an autumn group storytime. (Picture book. 4-6)