2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 260 books.
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Book Review: Wind, Ocean, Grass by Karen Wyle (author) and Tomasz Mikutel (Illustrator)

By now, readers of my blog are familiar with the work of the talented Karen Wyle. From adult books to children’s picture stories, Wyle’s work is consistently original, lovely, and magical. (If you need a refresher, check out my posts on a number of her previous adult titles and her writing experiences – Twin-BredWander Home, Division, Leaders, and Water to Water in a two-part series of posts – as well as her first few forays into children’s books – You Can’t Kiss a Bubble and When It’s Winter.) This latest book is no exception. The focus is on nature, and the results are as lyrical as the movement of the eponymous wind.

In her own words: This unique picture book has neither human nor animal characters, but instead features the wind speaking to the grass, explaining how long grasses are both like and unlike the waves of the ocean. Through lyrical prose and breathtaking impressionist-style paintings, the reader follows the wind’s journey over sea and land: the many moods of the ocean, the different seasons of the grassy field. We see glimpses of the birds that live off the bounty of the ocean, and the birds and flowers that live among the grasses.

Through this nature metaphor, the story, without becoming didactic, teaches children about seeing commonality and celebrating differences.

And if that description doesn’t encourage you to take a look, the lush and evocative illustrations certainly should. For each of her children’s books, Wyle has done an absolutely magnificent job finding the perfect illustrator – and illustrative style – to convey the wonder of her story. Mikutel’s art is visually stunning and provides a counterpoint to the language of the tale that makes both more robust an experience.

I really love the message here. The back and forth between the elements reminded me of the way a parent talks to multiple children about how it is possible to love them each differently but equally – and how the happiness of the parent requires the thriving happiness of each child. I am constantly amazed at Wyle’s knack for taking complex subjects – life, death, love, nature – and putting them into narratives that children can appreciate and that can help parents teach life lessons. It is no easy task, and I applaud her willingness to tackle the large subjects – and her deft hand at managing them.

The book is truly lovely and I encourage you to take a look!

Thank you to the author for my obligation-free review copy.

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2 comments to Book Review: Wind, Ocean, Grass by Karen Wyle (author) and Tomasz Mikutel (Illustrator)

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