cover image Whoosh! Went the Wish

Whoosh! Went the Wish

Toby Speed. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23000-4

Unlike Speed and Root's Two Cool Cows, this convoluted story will have young readers puzzling about the windy loopholes in its plot. Lonely, elderly Henry wishes for a cat, but when a city fairy moves to a nearby mountain and offers to grant his wishes, she hears only some of his words, causing each wish to go awry. For example, when Henry shouts, ""I want nothing but a cat,"" most of his wish ""whooshes"" up the mountain on a white ribbon of wind, while the letters of ""but a cat"" dangle below, caught in a briar patch. Henry is left where his house once stood, holding a newspaper in lieu of a fig leaf, while the fairy, with her white seed-pod wings, feather boa neckline and star-bangled earrings, assures him she'll fix her mistake. Because the fairy seems to have no trouble hearing other people's wishes and because she makes numerous trips up and down the mountain to check up on her wish-fulfillment, the series of bungled wishes seems terribly contrived. Root's art revels in the changing effects of light, although a golden haze and creamy colors prevail: clouds shadowed pink and lavender drift across an aqua sky over Henry's cozy, wisteria-covered cottage. Despite the humor of the breezy illustrations, the illogical story line makes even the happy ending--in which the fairy gets a wish of her own--seem anticlimactic. Ages 4-8. (May)