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Wild Is The Wind

A story about the extraordinary path of the wind in its many guises across the world, as witnessed by a migrating swift

Cassi watches a little swift dive and swoop in the still air. In the rising sun the world seems to be holding its breath. Then a small breeze stirs the leaves in the trees, and as the wind grows bolder, a whiff of danger sends small creatures running for cover. Across the ocean, the wind awakes with a fury, whipping the waves and cresting each one with wild white horses. And further on, around the still eye of a hurricane, clouds are carved into a great spiral, howling with stormy power. All this is witnessed by the swift as it finally comes to nest on the other side of the world, where the great wind has abated. Follow the amazing path of a swift in Kate Greenaway Award–winning illustrator Grahame Baker-Smith's follow-up to The Rhythm of the Rain.

Pages: 40

Ages: 4-8yrs


"The power and beauty of wind take center stage in this gorgeously illustrated picture book about its journey across the world. This follow-up to The Rhythm of the Rain focuses on the great wind on its incredible journey around the world. The story begins in Africa, where a little girl, Cassi, holds a swift in her hands, sensing the changing of the seasons and the bird's forthcoming journey, before releasing it into the air where it joins a flock of other swifts. The story follows the birds as they ride the wind through a variety of landscapes featuring oceans, deserts, grasslands, and mountains. Along the way, Baker-Smith drops fascinating facts about the wind and its effect on the land: "For the wind is the ceaseless shaper of the earth." Like the wind, the author molds scientific explanations into beautiful, spare sentences that will impress both kid and adults: "There are caves the wind has made, like mouths in the rock. Sometimes the air flows in, sometimes out, as if the rock itself were breathing." Accompanying the rich prose are the spectacular illustrations, which manage to convey the awe-inspiring strength of the wind as it whips through the world, creating waves and tornadoes, but also carrying seeds, petals, and birds safely on their journeys. VERDICT A splendid coupling of science and art in one beautiful, accessible volume, certain to spark the interest of many young readers." — School Library Journal

"Starting in southern Africa, where a girl named Cassi releases a healed swift into its flock, this picture book tells parallel tales of Beijing swifts’ migratory habits and the ongoing, ancient powers of the wind.

The spectacular artwork alone will draw in children too young to read the sparse, lyrical, yet informative text. Vibrant colors highlight dramatic, sometimes surreal landscapes, seascapes, and skyscapes. The first sentence is graceful and comforting: “Cassi cradles the swift in the palm of her hand.” The slender, brown-skinned girl stands atop a pile of rocks, gazing down at her tiny charge, which she’s nursed back to health. Animals, plants, and traditional Namibian (probably) homes are in the foreground and distant background, as are soaring swifts. Surprisingly, a hot air balloon hovers behind Cassi. After affirming the importance of the swift’s release back into the wild, the text highlights the seasonal changes preceding the flock’s departure. Meanwhile, complementary artwork depicts Cassi’s hot air balloon accompanying the earliest leg (ahem, wing) of the journey. After establishing the wind as the swifts’ home, the next pages concentrate on how the amazing power of the wind has shaped the many landscapes over which the birds fly for three straight months. Their nesting destination—pinpointed by a hazy Beijing skyline—includes an elated boy who welcomes the swifts as summer’s harbinger; the following double-page spread depicts a new generation of birds hatching in China, already awaiting the return trip to Africa.

Full-circle ecstasy. "

— Kirkus Reviews

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