As I promised on Monday, I am reviewing the delightful new picture book, The Wind Plays Tricks, hot off the press from author Virginia Howard. In the interest of transparency, our SCBWI critique group in New Orleans has watched the process of its creation through hearing an early draft, the good news of Albert Whitman and Company’s acceptance, and the wait while an illustrator was selected since Virginia chose not to illustrate it herself. We’ve been on pins and needles hoping the editors chose an illustrator who would do justice to the story.
The premise of the book is a howling wind that comes through the farmyard one night and mixes up the voices of the barnyard animals. It’s bad enough that the chicks start saying, “Neigh!” and the hens go, “Moo!” but when the poor rooster lose his “Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!” to the horse, he can’t be expected to get the animals roused up in the morning with only a “Cheep, Cheep.” Thankfully, there is turtle who had shielded himself from the wind’s tricks and is willing to help.
Both the author and her writer friends were pleased with the editors’ selection of an illustrator. As you can see, a five-year-old can really get into the pictures that go with the sounds.
Charlene Chua captures the spirit that we heard in Virginia’s readings of the story with her vibrant colors and her humorous portrayal of the animals. Since the book calls for being read aloud again and again to the preschool-kindergarten crowd, another big plus is that the adult reader will not mind.