cover image Wind Child

Wind Child

Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon. HarperCollins, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024903-8

Elements of fantasy and folklore intertwine in both the telling of and the artwork for this haunting, mystical tale. Unaware that her father was an east wind, Resshie, now a young woman, yearns to be a part of the sky. To support herself, she takes to weaving, creating cloth that seems to be made of the wind itself. She gains renown for her craft and even attempts to weave a mate for herself twice, but each one fades. Soon after, a young prince comes to call, asking to see her handiwork. Resshie recognizes that he is ""not a mortal man"" but a wind in human form, and she strikes a bargain that will allow her to gain her heart's desire. Murphy's (Tattie's River) carefully honed prose, striking in its spare, direct simplicity, establishes a mythic tone. Subtle hints pave the way for an ending of allegorical proportions. Leo and Diane Dillon (To Everything There Is a Season) also plant understated clues in the artwork. The winds' omnipresence materializes in violet stripes at Resshie's back, breathing life into her loom, and conjures images of the Lady of Shalott. At the center of each spread, photographs of Lee Dillon's sculpted faces with windswept hair hover, unrestrained, against an expanse of white. The sculpture creates an uncanny illusion of movement--except on the dramatic spreads that convey Resshie's failed attempts to weave a mate: mirror images show a perfect clay relief on the left and its shattered image on the right. The stark beauty of both text and artwork are sure to draw sophisticated readers into this stunning meditation on the price of immortality. Ages 5-9. (May)