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Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Girl Who Tamed the Wind, written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Lee White. Schwartz and Wade Books, Penguin Random House. 2018. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"The wind blew, the shutters
banged, the boards bent, the
table tipped, and the tea spilled.

The tea spilled and the bread
broke on the tippy table in the
creaky house at the tip-top of
the steep hill.

And still the wind blew."

Kate proves to readers that she knows much about the earth, its needs, and how to make a difference. She will certainly be celebrating Earth Day today with the rest of us.

Kate is doing what young girls like to do on windy spring days. She wants to be outdoors, and is busy with a game of hopscotch. The man who lives alone on the top of a nearby hill enjoys the light wind that blows - until he doesn't. He is hanging freshly washed laundry when that wind picks up and blows his clothing away. Then, it blows until his shutters bang and the house boards bend. It is blowing up a catastrophe, and the man is at his wit's end.

Kate hears his cry of lament as the wind whips his words past her on the sidewalk. Not sure what to do, she draws up a plan with her chalk. She knows that stopping the wind is impossible for one small girl; she also knows how to help. Up she goes with a wagonload of new trees. Together the two plant those trees. Luckily, they are both patient people.

As the wind continues blowing, the trees continue growing - through seasons and over the years. Kate grows, too. The old man ages. They practice patience together, until the trees have fully grown and offer protection from the relentless wind. The house returns to its original state. A picnic at the top of the hill become a pleasant diversion - all because of trees.

Word choice and cumulative text makes for a lively tale. Mixed media artwork has an earthy vibe, while also brimming with movement. The book is a testament to children making a difference, and the need for concern about our natural world. This is a terrific story to read aloud for Earth Day, or any other day.

Ms. Scanlon adds an informative author’s note entitled “More About Marvelous Trees.” It contains background data for the role trees play in the earth’s ecosystem. Added is a list of  internet resources for those who want to help make our world a better place.


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