Monday, August 16, 2010

Picture Book of the Year?

Is was wondering through my local Borders yesterday as I waited for the Wholefoods next door to bake my pizza (sorry I feel the need to rationalize not being in my exceedingly wonderful and prize winning local independent bookstore). While browsing the picture book section I came across Jeanne Birdsall's new picture book Flora's Very Windy Day (illustrated by Matt Phelan, of last year's The Storm in the Barn). I was surprised to see it on the shelf as I didn't think it had been released yet. An amazon search shows the release date to by August 23, 2010 (the day before Mockingjay!). Anyway, I picked it up and gave it a thorough reading and WOW what a fantastic book. The illustrations are top notch. Phelan's figures remind me of Tricia Tusa's watercolors but with even more energy.
With relatively sparse text, Birdsall conveys the familial affection that she accomplishes in the Penderwick novels. Flora situation is one universally understood by any older brother or sister.

The story opens with Flora clearly fed up by her younger brother's bothersome mayhem (he, likely unknowingly, ruined Flora's art work). Flora's mom suggests that Flora go outside even though it's a very windy day. Flora begrudgingly takes her brother into the yard where the wind steals him away. Flora sets off to rescue her brother and discovers that though he might be a pain in the rear, he's her pain and she loves him all the same...

When I first learned that Jeanne Birdsall was coming to speak at the Decatur Book Festival in September I was super excited to get a chance to meet the author of the Penderwicks, but sort of upset that she had spent time on a picture book when there are still more volumes of the Penderwicks to be written. After reading Flora's Very Windy Day I am regret ever doubting Birdsall and cannot wait to hear her discuss this most recent masterpiece.

On a completely unrelated note I reread The Hunger Games this weekend (while simultaneousness helping my team win the AFDC summer league end of season ultimate tournament). Tonight I'll start Catching Fire. Less than 8 days until Mockingjay, a.k.a. the best birthday present ever! I couldn't be more excited!

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