A little girl paints on a low table; her smaller brother reaches out and knocks paint and crayons all over. Flora screams, and her mom, at her laptop and looking stressed, tells her to take Crispin outside. It's very windy, so Flora puts on her "super-special heavy-duty red boots." Outside, Flora laughs at the wind, which cannot blow her away, but she informs it that her little brother has only regular boots. Before you know it, Crispin has been blown away, and Flora, alarmed now, sheds her fine red boots to follow him. Various creatures ask for Crispin, but Flora replies each time, "He's my brother and I'm taking him home"—to which each responds, "If the wind lets you," setting up the climactic confrontation, which echoes Sendak and others while remaining true to this story. Phelan's illustrations are simply wonderful: His line floats and traces the air currents, his colors are subtle but strong and he captures Flora's multiple emotions and Crispin's silent toddlerness in every rosy-cheeked image. Emotionally true from cover to cover. (Picture book. 4-8)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Birdsall's (The Penderwicks) crisp and delightful first picture book shares the virtues of her successful middle-grade novels: believable characters, a tightly constructed story line, and a nod to past children's literature--here, to the no-nonsense magic of the Edwardians. Big sister Flora must kick off her cherished "super-special heavy-duty red boots" to be borne aloft so she can rescue her brother, Crispin, when the wind blows him away. They meet a cloud, a sparrow, and other characters, all of whom make the same request: "Will you give me that little boy?" Although Crispin has spilled Flora's paints, and the creatures seem to know that she sometimes wishes to be rid of him, the encounters only strengthen Flora's resolve to bring Crispin home. "My mother wouldn't like it if I lost him," she says. Phelan's (The Storm in the Barn) rosy-cheeked Flora and dumplinglike Crispin float idyllically all the way to the moon. Yet the story contains the occasional whiff of menace ("If the wind lets you," each creature replies when Flora says she'll be taking him home). Never mind--the danger is no match for Flora. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 2--When Flora's younger brother spills her paints, their mother orders them both outside even though the autumn wind is strong and might blow them away. Luckily Flora wears her "super-special, heavy-duty red boots," but Crispin's purple boots are ordinary. When the triple-strength wind lifts him up into the air, Flora kicks off her boots and sails up in the sky to retrieve him. A dragonfly, a sparrow, a rainbow, an eagle, and a cloud all ask to keep Crispin, but she says, "He's my brother and I'm taking him home." Each one replies with the cryptic phrase, "If the wind lets you." The lonely man in the moon and the wind also ask for the child, but Flora is determined. Accepting her change of heart, the wind blows them down to earth. Birdsall's first picture book is a flight of fancy reconciling a sister to her innocently irritating little brother. Phelan uses ink, watercolor, and pastels for their airy adventure, tossing and tumbling them through a series of encounters that reveal Flora's changing feelings. This gem of a book will resonate with older siblings everywhere.--Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN[Page 55]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.