cover image My Breathing Earth

My Breathing Earth

Paul Many, illus. by Tisha Lee. Yeehoo, $18.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-953458-62-9

Many (Dinomorphosis) sustains interest in air’s movement with vibrant free verse that follows a child narrator over a 24-hour period. On the first morning, “Full of the smell of rain/ that tapped on our roof all night,/ Earth’s breath/ balloons our curtains.” In quiltlike scenes, digitally finished gouache paintings by Lee (Love Grows Everywhere) show the curtains in the spacious bedroom of two siblings portrayed with light brown skin; brick city buildings are visible through the windows. The interracial family’s doll-like forms are next seen sitting down to breakfast (“The air turns/ the corners of Daddy’s newspaper”), then driving to Nana’s for caretaking (the wind “plays with people in the street,/ twirling their clothes into ice-cream swirls”). At Nana’s, alliterative and assonant phrasings (“Earth’s breath bounces our bubbles like little boats bobbing”) lead to breezy drama in the form of a slammed door and tipped-over plants before the day winds down (“I feel Earth’s breath rise and fall under me”). Active verbs animate the largely invisible phenomenon of the earth’s moving air, bringing its sudden changes and subtle power into readers’ awareness via thoughtful observations. An explanatory note concludes. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)