Flora's Very Windy Day
written by Jeanne Birdsall; illustrated by Matt Phelan
(Clarion Books) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library
Flora is having a tough time. Her little brother Crispin has spilled her paints again and Mom blames her for having the paints within her little brother's reach. Mom's solution is for Flora to take her little brother outside on a very windy day. Flora is not worried for herself since she has a pair of "special heavy-duty red boots" (As a father of two daughters, I feel I can say that every little girl should have a pair of red boots!) that will keep her from being taken away by the wind. When the two children arrive outside, the wind tries hard to take Flora away but to no avail. Flora taunts the wind, but also announces not so innocently that Crispin is wearing "regular old purple boots". With this veiled invitation, the wind proceeds to take Crispin away. Flora sheds her special red boots so she too can follow her brother in the air. Different elements of nature (moon, eagle, cloud, etc.) offer to take Crispin away from Flora, but she stands firm despite her previous issues with her brother.
Flora's Very Windy Day is a very clever story with wonderful illustrations. I love the reasons why Flora declines each offer from a natural element (e.g., There are no chocolate chip cookies on the moon and Crispin loves chocolate chip cookies) and Flora's body language and facial expressions in Matt Phelan's whimsical illustrations. Sibling rivalry is always a popular subject for read alouds since most students can easily connect to this topic. The book would also be a good launching pad for a discussion on how we handle being upset. Flora is mad at the beginning, but she thinks through the consequences of giving away her brother and works hard to keep him. The priceless final illustrations reveal Flora's true feelings and provide a sweet ending.
** While visiting Jeanne Birdsall's website, I read that a new Penderwicks book is coming out next summer. Totally cool news!
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