Who Has Seen the Wind?
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro'.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.
"A gentle breeze cools the home on a hot summer day. A colorful kite floats high above the heads of a picnicking family at play. The tinkling of chimes beneath a baby's bedroom window lulls the infant to sleep. With sails unfurled, a sailboat races toward the horizon."
The wind is friend.
A hurricane roars inland, destroying homes and communities. Without warning, a thunderstorm rolls into town, dampening picnic plans. The slamming of shutters outside a baby's bedroom window shatters the infant's sleep. Surf's up, and the waves pound wickedly, whipping the sailboat toward the rocks.
The wind is fierce.
"Enemy or ally? Friend or foe? Our relationship with the wind is often uncertain."
Explore more aspects of wind as enemy or ally at http://www.fi.edu/tfi/units/energy/ and the American Wind Energy Association's www.awea.org is another useful and informative site and includes a teachers guide for grades 6 through 12.
Also consider the following nonfictions and fiction titles that will "blow you away."
Contributor: Sheilah Egan
Air Is Everywhere
Careful thought went into the making of this book. On the title page, three names are listed under the author's name--a content advisor, a science advisor and a reading advisor. This information book about air is part of the "Investigate Science" series. The excellent book design uses the image of lined notebook paper for the text background and the image of a cork bulletin board for photo background. Other features that make this book appealing are full sentence photo captions, subheadings, "What you need:" sidebars for activities described in the text, "Think About It!" questions in sidebars with explanations in the back of the book, and "Did You Know" sidebars. All of this support would fall flat if the text were so-so, but that is not the case with writing that explains the wind's power, how air helps us smell and hear, and the importance of breathing. The activities designed to teach about air are engaging. They include lifting a book with a balloon, painting by blowing through a straw, and keeping a crumpled napkin dry in an upside-down glass placed in water. The back of the book provides more activities, a glossary, resources, an index and information about the author. This book will augment primary grade science textbooks nicely. It has substance and gives meaning to the phrase, "reading in the content area." 2005, Compass Point Books, $15.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Jacki Vawter, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
Eye of the Storm: A Book About Hurricanes
Illustrated by Denise Shea
How does a hurricane form? Sunlight heats the water in the ocean, which turns into vapor as it rises into the atmosphere. The rain clouds that subsequently form become tropical thunderstorms, which are the earliest stages of a hurricane. They continue growing by consuming warm, rotating air and an infinite amount of water from the sea below. Learn more about hurricanes and what is meant by the "eye of the storm" or a "landfall." Colorful, bold illustrations adorn each page. Safety tips on how to live through such an extreme weather situation as the one discussed are given on the last few pages as well as other fascinating facts and a glossary. Additional resources from the library or Internet are also provided. Part of the "Amazing Science" series, this would be excellent in an early elementary natural science/meteorological unit. Part of the "Amazing Science" series that includes titles, such as Shapes in the Sky: A Book about Clouds, Gusts and Gales: A Book About Wind and Nature's Fireworks: A Book About Lightning. Highly recommended. 2005, Picture Window Books, $22.60. Ages 4 to 9. Reviewer: Cindy L. Carolan (Children's Literature).
Twisters: a Book About Tornadoes
Illustrated by Denise Shea
Fast and furious--that sums up the most powerful storm on Earth. Updrafts and downdrafts of wind mix together to form the easily recognizable rotating column or funnel cloud. The United States hosts more tornadoes than any other country in the world; about 800 are reported to occur here each year. The illustrations in this book are stunning. How the absolute perfect color palette to make the green-gray color of sky that accompanies a tornado was obtained is a mystery. The last few pages give safety tips on how to survive such an extreme weather situation as the one discussed and provide other interesting facts and a glossary. Additional resources from the library or Internet are also provided. Part of the "Amazing Science" series, this would be excellent in an early elementary natural science/meteorological unit. Part of the "Amazing Science" series that includes titles, such as Shapes in the Sky: A Book about Clouds, Gusts and Gales: A Book About Wind and Nature's Fireworks: A Book About Lightning. Highly recommended. 2005, Picture Window Books, $22.60. Ages 4 to 9. Reviewer: Cindy L. Carolan (Children's Literature).
What is the wind and why is it sometimes stronger than at other times? This title gives young readers a simple explanation of the wind and how it affects the weather. Readers will learn about air pressure and how it has an impact on where the wind blows. A barometer is the instrument used to measure the air pressure and predict the wind. The wind blows at different speeds and can be measured by instruments called an anemometer and an aerovane. Some winds are very powerful and can uproot trees, destroy buildings and cause floods. Readers will also learn about wind chill and the affect is has on how the temperature feels as opposed to what the thermometer reads. The information in this book is easy to follow and gives young readers a good overview of wind and the elements that affect the wind. The glossary explains how to pronounce specific words and defines words students may not know. 2005, Capstone Press, $21.26. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Debbie Bohn (Children's Literature).
Bit by Bit
Illustrations by Heather Castles
One day Mr. Caterpillar is taking a walk, bit by bit, bit by bit, when a wind whisks him away, twirling him over and sideways, over and sideways, until he comes to rest on a man's hat. So begins our hero's perilous journey in which he is swept from his tree to the hat, to a woman's shoulder, to the floor of a train, where he is almost crushed to death by a big leather shoe, before he finally makes it back to a big tree. There he climbs bit by bit, bit by bit until he can rest on a big leaf and dream of becoming a beautiful butterfly. This is a very simple story in which Mr. Caterpillar is the helpless victim of circumstances and can do very little to affect his destiny. What makes it work, however, is the language. When reading the words, bit by bit, bit by bit, for instance, the reader is naturally inclined to read them slowly, giving the impression of plodding along. Likewise, such phrases as stretching and shrinking, stretching and shrinking, or rushing and hurrying, rushing and hurrying, provide nice rhythmic descriptions that will quickly become familiar to the toddler who will want to repeat them over and over again. Bright, whimsical illustrations enhance the text. This combination of rhythmic text and colorful drawings give this book nice read-aloud potential. 2005, Annick Press Ltd, Ages 4 to 8, $19.95. Reviewer: Pat Trattles
The Day I Could Fly
Lynn Crosbie Loux
Illustrated by Guy PorfirioIn a flight of her imagination, when touched by a crow's feather, a young girl's arms become wings as she flies "lifted on the winds." From on high she views her now-tiny family and the horses in a nearby field, then descends as a small crow flying above the town. She nests and naps as a crow, but hearing her mother call as a storm approaches, she is happy to be a girl at home again. Her grandfather's gift of a feather when she tells him of her flight seems a promise of future adventure. Naturalistic colored-pencil and acrylic paintings fill most of the double pages with pictures of the girl as crow and what she observes: sunflowers, fish in a pond, and more. The text is set in short lines suggesting poetry, while the illustrations echo the mood in their use of warm colors in scenes viewed as if through a fine screen. The words and pictures combine to help us fly along with the narrator. 2003, Northwood Press, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004; Bank Street College of Education; United States
As part of turning it into a title in the "Green Light Readers" series, this simple story has been packaged with follow-up questions and activities and a note to parents. The text is suitable for very new readers. It tells the story of Dan helping Pam find her lost hat. In each spread, one page has a single line 3 or 4 word sentence, using only 12 easily-decodable words in total. The facing page is illustrated with boldly-colored, simple illustrations that closely match the text. Clearly this series has been carefully designed for parents anxious to support their new readers in a way that reflects current trends in early literacy. The books are leveled according to Reading Recovery and Harcourt's own system and the activities are very low-key. The follow-up questions at the end of the story do not just test literal recall but include queries that invite the readers to make connections between themselves and the story. It is refreshing to see that the five tips to help one's child become a reader include both having fun and making sure that the child sees adults reading. 2005, Harcourt Books, $12.95. Ages 4 to 6. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry (Children's Literature).
It Is the Wind
Illustrated by James Ransome
It is a summer nighttime and a young boy leans by his open window, having had trouble falling asleep. What noises keep him awake? An owl... a howling dog... a creaking gate... a lost calf... a toad splashing in the pond... a stalking cat. Ferida Wolff's spare, poetic word-pictures (reproduced in large, reading-practice type) bring the night sounds to the wondering boy. Coretta Scott King Award-winner James Ransome's paintings correspond well to the prose, his twilight-green and blue palette giving evocative close-ups of the bawling calf, the howling hound, the prowling cat. And after the wind sighs the boy to sleep at last, Ransome uses the endpapers to open the view beyond the window and creature portraits to a panorama of the farm's night fields. The book is done well enough to make city and suburban children long to be transported to more pastoral lands. It might even send them to sleep with visions of Ransome's marvelous stalking black cat. 2005, HarperCollins, $14.99. Ages 2 to 6. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr (Children's Literature).
Like a Windy Day
Frank Asch and Devin Asch
In very childlike terms, the simple story tells and shows how a little girl would like to do what the wind can do. "I want to play like a windy day." The wind scatters seeds, turns windmills, flies kites, waves flags, steals hats, etc. A wind-born leaf flies towards the right on each double spread leading the eye onward and encouraging page turns. The wind is represented by an exuberant and transparent figure which also flies to the right, a personification that strikes the right imaginative chord for preschoolers. The text is easy yet uses interesting words like zoom, race, snap, steal, soar. Pen-and-ink drawings, colorized in Adobe Photoshop, show a clear, clean palette and reflect the action in the text carefully. Pictures, words, and intended audience are matched perfectly. 2002, Harcourt, $15.00. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Beth Guldseth (Children's Literature).
The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2003; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2003; H.W. Wilson; United States
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, October 14, 2002; Cahners; United States
Mouse's autumn journey to collect nuts is fraught with perils: a coming wind storm, a farmer hurrying home on his tractor, a barking dog. She cannot hear her friends' warnings. Exhausted by her journey, she falls asleep at the tree. Disappointed to find the nuts all gone when she wakes up, she makes her way sadly back home, where she finds the wind has done her work for her. This traditional going-out-and-coming-home story will appeal to preschoolers who will sympathize with the anthropomorphized mouse with her big coat and its extra-big pockets, and enjoy her talking animal friends: Gull, Hare, and Sheep. Full double page illustrations in autumn colors are done in pastels and gouache. Important shapes are outlined, perfect for showing while reading aloud. No translator is listed for this smoothly told story, first published in the Netherlands. Just right for story time or bedtime reading, this gentle tale should find an appreciative audience here, as well. 2005, Front Street, Ages 2 to 5, $15.95. Reviewer: Kathleen Isaacs
Painting the Wind
Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan
Illustrated by Katy Schneider
From the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall comes a picture book that makes the reader want to pick up a paintbrush and start to paint all the things he sees around him. Through the eyes of a young island boy, we are introduced to the painters who invade his island for the summer. We see the painter of faces, landscapes, animals, and seascapes. As the little boy learns to take note of everything and everyone around him, he is finally able to do what he has been unable to do before, and that is to paint the wind. When he paints the bending trees as they lean against the strength of the wind, he captures the image that has eluded him. The illustrations here are beautifully done, as though the brush has just been laid down. This is a good story for a child who is quiet and introverted, to share with him an outlet for creativity. It will help the child who is noisy and rambunctious learn how to become an observer of life. 2003, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins Publishers, $15.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Joyce Rice (Children's Literature).
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2004; H.W. Wilson
The Children's Literature Choice List, 2004; Children's Literature; United States
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, February 10, 2003; Cahners; United States
Top 10 Art Books for Youth, 2003; American Library Association-Booklist; United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Georgia Children's Book Award, 2004-2005; Nominee; Picture Storybook; Georgia
Georgia Children's Picture Story Book Award, 2004-2005; Nominee; Georgia
Texas Reading Club, 2005; Texas
Scoot on Top of the World
Scoot is Sally's best friend, and he also happens to be an energetic puppy. Scoot loves chasing after his red ball. One day while he and Sally are playing in the yard, he is distracted by what appears to be his ball. But it turns out to be a red balloon that has captured his attention, and he is off. Before he knows it, he is completely lost. The colors of the paintings throughout change eloquently to parallel what is happening in the story. For example, the pages in the beginning are bright and cheerful as Scoot plays with Sally, but as night falls and he cannot find his way home, the pages turn to dreary shades of blue. This story about Scoot was inspired by the author's own childhood dog, which can be seen in the realistic spirit of this lovable character. It is an inspiring story of adventure, hope, and friendship. 2004, Candlewick Press, $15.99. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Kymberlee Chandler (Children's Literature).
The Village of the Basketeers
Lynda Gene Rymond
Illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli
The people in this village can make fine baskets for almost any purpose from the local reeds and grasses. This is fortunate, since their soil is no good for farming and the sea too rough for fishing. Life is good, until one day the wind begins to blow harder. Each day it gets stronger, until it blows fish out of the sea, the moon from the sky, and worse. The people decide that they must stop the wind by catching it in the strongest basket they can weave. The first time they try it blows away with the weaver inside. When they weave a large barn to hold it, it sails away as well. Finally two children decide to try something completely different. Their clever idea saves the day and the village. Ceccoli creates a fairy-tale world, using acrylic paints and pastels to produce soft, dreamy double-page scenes of action. The mountain-top village with doll-house buildings is totally devoid of trash; the people and animals are gently sculptured dolls that float about easily in the wind. There is an intriguing other-worldly quality to the images and setting. 2005, Houghton Mifflin Children's Books, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
The Warlord's Messenger
Virginia Walton Pilegard
Illustrated by Nicolas Debon
Debon and Pilegard have teamed up again for another story with a touch of history and science packed into an adventure story with a hero and heroine that will appeal to picture book readers. The setting is ancient China where a young boy named Chuan and his friend Jing Jing live in the palace of an important warlord. A messenger has arrived with an invitation from the Emperor for their master to attend a banquet. The warlord is out in the countryside and it would take three days travel by horseback to reach him. He would never be able to return to his palace and then reach the Emperor in time for the feat. The two children come up with an idea--they attach a sail to a cart and use the power of the wind to propel them much faster than a horse could travel. They arrive, save their master from embarrassment, and in turn are rewarded with an opportunity to go to the palace of the Emperor. The story is based on a real invention by the Chinese nearly 1500 years ago. The part of the story that may be a stretch historically is that two children could succeed in undertaking such an adventure and, even more, that a young girl would be involved. The breezy art shows plenty of open spaces, and you get a real sense of the speed at which the cart is moving. The characters are loosely sketched, as are the elements of the Warlord's palace. The part of China that is depicted looks rather dry and hilly--perhaps like the steppes where the winds would be blowing with some force. There is an activity page for students and teachers to create a windsock, which is also a Chinese invention. 2005, Pelican Publishing, Ages 5 to 8, $15.95. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
Where Does The Wind Blow?
In simple, yet lovely rhyme, the author effectively imparts the feeling of a breeze blowing through the story, taking the reader from one serene spot to another. At the start, a boy and his mother stand on a hill, and the boy wonders where the wind comes from, where it goes. Then the wind swirls off, past a bedroom window, a campfire, a field, a river, mountains and ocean, and then on to China and other exotic places, until it makes its way back to the hill. Written as a message to her son, the author uses the wind as a symbol of the connectedness of people, no matter how far apart they may be. Illustrations are bright and kid-friendly, and go well with the text. Like other nature books from this publisher, it is very well done, appropriate for the age group, and it imparts a sense of understanding about the earth without being at all pedantic. 2002, Dawn Publications, $7.95. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Jane Harrington (Children's Literature).
Willa and the Wind
Retold by Janice M. Del Negro
Illustrated by Heather Solomon
Text and illustrations, both humorous and exquisitely detailed, match beautifully in telling the story of Willa born in a windy valley in the windy middle of nowhere. When the north wind "on holiday from work, but not from making mischief" swoops down and steals Willa's cornmeal, she marches off to his home, her bright red braids flailing. Old Windy swears he is honest, and sends Willa back with a magic handkerchief, which a wicked innkeeper steals. Then Windy gives her a goat that grants gold coins on demand, and the innkeeper steals again. Windy's final gift, and warning that he is honest, both invites the innkeeper's greed and gives the fiery Willa a satisfying way of getting her gifts back and teaching the innkeeper a lesson. With wonderful text, beautiful illustrations, and a fascinating story this book will charm both the reader and the listener. 2005, Marshal Cavendish Children, $16.95. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg (Children's Literature).
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