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Kate, Who Tamed the Wind

Kate, Who Tamed the Wind
by Liz Garton Scanlon; illus. by Lee White
Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g
2/18    978-1-101-93479-1    $17.99
Library ed.  978-1-101-93480-7    $20.99

This ecologically friendly picture book opens quietly, but it soon pivots from its lulling beginning (“The man lived all alone in the creaky house on the tip-top of a steep hill where a soft wind blew”) to a story full of gale-force mayhem, as the man’s laundry blows off the line and shutters bang and clapboards fly off the house. “What to do?” Enter young Kate, who puts her mind to it and comes up with a solution: plant trees. The years pass (a series of panels shows a tree in four stages, from sapling to fully grown); the wind quiets to a “bright breeze”; and the man and Kate, both older, enjoy a picnic on his now-
sheltered lawn. White’s watercolor, ink, and digital illustrations employ a soft palette, ceding the focus of the pictures to the perpetual motion and commotion they contain, as teapots spill violently and curtains billow and the man’s hat blows off his head and flies away. 
Scanlon’s poetic text returns over and over to words that rhyme with blew (“The time flew as the trees grew… / and grew… / and Kate did, too”), but with enough unpredictability to lend interest and energy. And at the end, Scanlon returns to the long e sound (now, to rhyme with tree), as the “tea steeped, and the birds peeped…and the old man poured sweet tea.” A note on trees — their benefits and place in the ecosystem — closes the book.

From the January/February 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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