cover image To Capture the Wind

To Capture the Wind

Sheila Macgill-Callahan. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1541-7

MacGill-Callahan (The Children of Lir) combines the flavor of a traditional tale with a few gender reversals in this spirited story. Here, an Irish farm woman rescues her kidnapped beloved from a pirate king. Resourceful Oonagh learns that if she claims to seek the pirate king's son's hand in marriage, she will be set four riddles to answer--and given four weeks to come up with a rescue plan for herself and her intended. She handles the first three riddles with ease, and the final riddle--""How do you capture the wind on the water?""--leads her to invent sails, which enables the prisoners' escape by boat. The simple, occasionally poetic prose (""White, blue, and scarlet wings blossom over the boats"" when the sails are raised) maintains a lively clip. Manchess debuts with brushy, impressionistic oils that give the characters a stalwart, rough-hewn look. An often luxuriant sense of color, strongly modeled forms, unusual angles and dramatic close-ups also make his work more robust than a more strictly realistic treatment.While fairy tale lovers will find the structure of this story familiar, its animated revisions offer welcome twists on well-worn formulas. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)