Who’s gusting around town and cheerfully blowing things hither and yon?
Poul’s “curious about the wild blue girl.” Poul, a redheaded white boy, stands holding a pinwheel while another kid disappears off the page nearby—someone with streaming blue hair and blue pants with blue suspenders. In fact, everything about her is blue, including her big blue grin and the blue rosiness of her cheeks (her skin is the white of the background paper). She’s the same size as Poul, but her strength and influence aren’t: Everywhere she goes, hats and flowers blow away, hair gusts sideways, and no pile of leaves is safe. The townspeople, a multiracial group, consider her “a nuisance,” but Poul adores her and sets out researching her powers, “study[ing] and measure[ing], test[ing] and buil[ding].” He erects a windmill—for she is, of course, the wind. Negley’s watercolor pencils and cut-paper collage (of solid paper, patterned paper, and newsprint) create a breezy, buoyant setting with ample air and an exuberant feeling even during the (mild) chaos. The text never identifies the wild blue girl as the wind, but readers will get it. However, what they won’t understand, unless they already know about windmills, is the turbine Poul builds. The art shows turbines, but neither art nor text explains a thing about them (until the author’s note introduces 19th-century Danish scientist/inventor Poul la Cour).
This celebration of renewable power is all about the manic pixie wind girl. (historical photograph) (Picture book. 3-8)