A little imagination transforms everyday objects into wonders in this sweet picture book.
Novelline (Piccadilly and the Fairy Polka, 2014) teams with debut illustrator Hwang for this second series adventure, which retains the charm and general look of the first installment while telling a crisper, more focused story. Piccadilly, a pigtailed little girl with big, blue eyes, wishes that soap bubbles lasted longer so that she could “fill the sky with rainbows!” Dad explains that the “breeze might be too strong today,” and Piccadilly notices the blowing leaves, which, to her, look like acorn-capped, male and female ballet dancers with autumn-leaf wings, pants, and skirts. “I want to dance with the wind!” Piccadilly cries, but then she lands in a leaf pile, disappointed. When falling acorns “tippity-tup” on her head, Piccadilly meets a squirrel named Sir Bartleby, and she sadly concludes that “the wind didn’t dance with you either.” But Piccadilly doesn’t give up. The next morning, as multicolored, sparkly swirls of wind blow through her windows, Piccadilly works on a kite. Outside, her finished creation takes on “a fancy of its own,” spiraling into the air until Piccadilly takes flight, still wearing her bunny slippers. She soars joyfully among leaves, sparkles, and fairies until the wind places her back on the ground, where she and Sir Bartleby find that the wind has arranged a perfect pile of acorns. Children will enjoy poring over Hwang’s dense, cartoony illustrations, which are packed with color, patterns, and surprises. Young readers will likely try to spot all the fairies in these images; adults, however, may wish that the book had a bit more visual breathing room. Novelline’s language is just as bright and bouncy as the illustrations, with fun-to-read-aloud sound effects (such as “Whoovity Whee!”) and just the right balance of description and dialogue. The slight story with its low-stakes conflict creates a safe yet engaging adventure for very young children and other sensitive readers.
Cheerful, busy illustrations make this gentle fantasy exciting.