cover image The Windy Day

The Windy Day

G. Brian Karas. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-81449-5

Karas (Home on the Bayou) foreshadows the imminent arrival of the wind in a ""tidy town"" right from the dedication page, where newspapers fly, heads are unhatted and a girl chases after her jump rope. The story opens as a curl of wind looms large over the earth then hits an orderly community hard. Karas fashions a simple village of a bakery, flower shop, school, a factory with double smoke stacks and an array of boxy homes with pointy rooftops. A little boy starts his day in a neutral brown, navy blue and cream-colored bedroom with a perfectly made bed and a bureau filled with primly stacked shirts, then heads to school. But the wind interrupts his regimented routine. With the bluster's arrival, Karas introduces purple, gold and scarlet into his palette; the carefully aligned buildings now bob on the horizon like so many harborless ships. The type, too, whirls and swirls across the page. But while pandemonium strikes the villagers, the boy seizes the moment, inhaling ""the breath of long-ago kings and queens"" as Karas adjusts his style to one brimming with medieval images of castle turrets and crowned heads. His illustrations link past and present, characterizing the wind as a timeless force to be reckoned with, as well as a fleeting glimmer of nature's power. Readers will likely feel they've been carried away on a journey--and may see the next gusty breeze quite differently--after experiencing Karas's fitting homage to a natural wonder. Ages 4-8. (May)