When the Wind Blows by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Jana Christy
Head outside on a windy day in this breezy picture book. When the wind chimes start to ring, a family excitedly gets ready to go outside into the fresh air. Together a little boy and his grandmother fly a kite that eventually breaks free and rides off on the wind. The wind blows the grass and flowers. It also sends the sailboats out on the water racing. The wind gets even stronger and a storm moves in with thunder and rain. They head back home into the bright warm lights of the house. There they are cozy and protected, unworried about the storm that continues outside. It is night when the storm clears and everyone is asleep.
Told in short rhyming lines of poetry, this picture book manages to be fresh and fun rather than stilted in any way. The rhymes and their rhythms offer a dynamic edge to the book, creating movement that echoes that of the wind in the words themselves. The attention is on both humans enjoying the breezy weather and also nature as the storm moves in. This is an invitation to head out into changing weather.
Christy’s illustrations are gorgeous. They have vivid colors and capture the movement of the wind. Just seeing the images evokes wind and breeze, as if fresh air is lifting off each page as you read. She also captures the joy of being out in weather, the fun of wild wind and the beauty of oncoming storms.
A beautiful look at weather, wind and rain that will have everyone looking for their kites on the next breezy day. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers
Inspired by his daughters aged 3 and 5, this book celebrates a rainy day. When Matilda wakes up on a Saturday morning, she is delighted by everything she can do that day. Clemmie, her little sister, gets excited too. But then their day turns out to be filled with rain. Matilda is undaunted and sets out to persuade Clemmie to join her out in the rain. Clemmie is very hesitant, insisting that it is wet, until Matilda shows her the umbrella and how to use it. Clemmie then enjoys the rain until her red balloon floats off when she gets too excited. But Matilda finds a way to make that right as well.
Liniers shows his adoration for his daughters in this book. Clemmie is clearly a toddler and expresses herself in early sentences and short words. Matilda is an enthusiastic older sibling who wants to spend time out in the weather. It is a pleasure to see a sibling relationship depicted with such warmth and evident love for one another. Matilda is never frustrated by the situation, always coming up with another way to approach it. The words and art dance together here. Both help tell this story of a rainy and wet Saturday.
My children always loved rain more than sun, so this is a book that they would have loved. Time to get out rain slickers and umbrellas and play in the rain! Appropriate for ages 3-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
Cloudette is the smallest of clouds. Usually it was just fine to be the littlest. She was called by cute nicknames, she had little friends, she was great at hiding, and she even slept in a special spot on the moon. But sometimes, she felt left out because she was so small. She couldn’t do the important work that the big clouds did, like storm fronts and rainbows. She wanted to do something big herself, but all of her big ideas didn’t work out. One day, she was blown by a storm to a new area where she had never been before. There she found a lone frog sitting in a dried up pond. Cloudette knew she could help, but only if she tried very, very hard. By helping in one place, she realized that there was a lot one small cloud could do in the world.
Lichtenheld’s text is a pleasure to read aloud. He has included all sorts of aside comments from the clouds, Cloudette herself, and animals too. They give the book more flavor and a stronger tone. The small making a large impact and doing something big is an idea that is featured in a lot of children’s books. Children relate to being the smallest, being envious of what bigger people can do, and feeling powerless themselves. Cloudette is certain to speak directly to the fact that small contributions can add up to something big.
The artwork here is bright, simple and entertaining. While some pages have a paneled look, many of them are single or double-page spreads. Lichtenheld nicely contrasts background colors to create a book that is colorful and that will work well with a group.
Cloudette will have you cheering for her and is sure to easily create small fans. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt & Co.
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In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Bauer has created a poetic picture book that explores the concept of March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb. A lion enters a boy’s home and tromps mud across the floor. But when the air turns warmer, the lion sneezes mightily. On that breeze, a lamb comes in and the grass turns green. But what will happen to the snowy lion now that spring has arrived? Will he disappear? Not him! Meanwhile, the lamb is frolicking and bringing in new babies to greet the spring.
The verse is light and free, creating a poetic, friendly picture book for young children. The idea of the lion not leaving, but instead lingering in a warm patch of sun and purring is a lovely one. While the lamb is breezy and light, the lion asleep happily is what lingers with me afterwards, waiting for winter to return.
McCully’s art echoes the freedom of the verse and the lightness of the subject. She uses a light touch on her lines, a freedom in her colors, and a lushness as spring returns.
Welcome spring and the end of March with this book and hope along with all of us in Wisconsin that the snow will finally come to an end! Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Holiday House.
Also reviewed by BooksForKidsBlog.