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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Another great review of WHEN THE WIND BLEW (from Publishers Weekly this time)!

A follow-up to If the Shoe Fits (illustrated by Karla Firehammer, 2001) finds the old woman—not so old but cheery and buxom—and her many children solving a few dilemmas for other nursery rhyme denizens.
The footwear that is their home is quite a fancy shoe, with a lamp affixed to the end of its curled tip. The opening spread sets up the entire story with its panoramic view of shoe, tree with “cradle and all,” fields, town, castle and hill with well atop. The wind rocks the cradle so wildly that the wee tot is tumbled out onto the shoe, to be gently caught by the children, who try right away to put baby and cradle back. The tree from which it fell is now festooned with mittens, and the children soon find the desolate, mittenless kittens. As they go along, they find Mary’s lamb, Bo Peep’s crook, Jack’s candlestick, and Jack and Jill’s pail (among other items) and eventually restore them to their rightful places. It is all told in verse rhymed with grace—verve, even—and illustrated with soft, ballooning figures. The many children of the shoe have round heads and button features, and each is clad in the garb of various and sundry nations and ethnicities. Perspectives swoop and change with the rhythm. There is a moral about “examin[ing] the cost / Of constantly grasping for things that are lost,” but it doesn’t much get in the way.
Children who know the nursery rhymes will enjoy seeing them in a new context, and children who do not can enjoy the rollicking action anyway. (Picture book. 4-7)

Monday, January 13, 2014

My first review of WHEN THE WIND BLEW has arrived:

When the Wind Blew
Alison Jackson, illus. by Doris Barrette. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8688-1
Extreme weather isn’t limited to the real world—it hits the country of nursery rhymes, too, as a gale breaks a famous bough and deposits a rock-a-bye baby on an equally famous shoe. “The woman and children who lived in the shoe/ Were nestled inside, but they knew what to do.” They set off to return the baby, discovering missing mittens (and some guilty kittens), a pail, a misplaced sheep that belongs to a girl named Mary... and that’s just the beginning. Barrette (Never Ask a Bear) sets the story in a fairytale European village with tiled roofs, a castle, and rolling hills; she captures the storm’s force with swirling skirts, waving branches, and flying coins. As in 2001’s If the Shoe Fits, Jackson puts nursery world elements together like a crossword puzzle, assembling smart rhymes (“The coins had been swept from the king’s counting room,/ And the woman surmised he’d be missing them soon”) and clever scenarios, although a moral about acquisitiveness (“From kitten to king, they examined the cost/ Of constantly grasping at things that are lost”) has a tacked-on feeling. Ages 4–7. (Mar.)

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's a new year and I have lots of new projects. I am currently working on a concept picture book entitled LINES, and I plan to start a new novel about a girl who moves to a new town with her family after a mysterious tragedy has befallen them. WHEN THE WIND BLEW has been completed and should be available within the next few weeks!