When Ma Dear tells Mirandy that "whoever catch the Wind can make him do their bidding," Mirandy vows that she'll dance with the Wind at her first cakewalk.
She tries one thing and then another to catch him--pepper to make him sneeze, the advice of the conjure woman--while scorning her friend Ezel as too clumsy to dance with. But when Orlinda makes fun of Ezel's dancing, Mirandy leaps to his defense and chooses him as her partner--and together they win the junior cakewalk with such style and grace that Grandmama says, "Them chullin' is dancing with the Wind!" As she did in Flossie and the Fox (1986), McKissack has created in Mirandy a character full of vigor, humor, and imagination. Pinkney captures the liveliness of the story in his expansive paintings, dappled with impressionistic hues; these are prosperous, happy country folk of a few years ago (McKissack notes that her grandparents won a similar contest in this Afro-American dance in 1906). The half-imaginary wind is shown, top-hatted, in evanescent blues.
An entertaining, unusual story. (Picture book. 4-8)