French author/illustrator Manceau makes his English-language debut with a cumulative story whose bare-bones simplicity and audience engagement call to mind Hervé Tullet’s Press Here. A small gray-blue circle appears against a field of white on the opening spread (“One tiny scrap of paper...”); it’s soon joined by larger blue and orange semi- and quarter- circles, a red blob, and a few other circles. “Where did they come from? Whose are they?” asks the text. “They’re mine!” shouts a chicken, as the shapes join together to form its head (black lines fill in other details). “No, they’re mine!” responds a fish on the next page, made up of the same reconfigured shapes (the orange quarter-circle changes from beak to tail, the red blob from cockscomb to fin). The shapes create a bird, snail, and frog on later pages, with the animals all claiming ownership of the bits of paper. The wind puts the debate to rest, and invites readers to take part (the shapes are available for download online): “They’re yours now too. What will you do?” A surefire inspiration for imagination-fueled projects at school or at home. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
-CLEL Bell Award (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy) - "Play" Category Finalist, 2014
-Longlisted for the ALSC Notable Children's Books List, 2013
-Colorado Libraries CLEL Bell Award (finalist), 2014
"A surefire inspiration for imagination-fueled projects at school or at home."
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"A book that at first glance might seem minimalist to the point of vacuity bears closer scrutiny when one appreciates the function the paper shapes can have in allowing a child to identify them in different orientations and even to practice counting."
"Windblown is a book that screams, 'Turn me into a craft already!!!'
It reaches its full potential when the concept of the book is translated in real life. I hope that happens often."
Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes
"While this book at first seems as minimalist and innovative as Herve Tullet's Press Here, a more traditional story line soon emerges as several characters appear, providing a cumulative narration in which each claims ownership of the shapes."
The Horn Book
"Manceau offers just enough possibilities to ignite youngsters' imaginations, then sends them off to try some creations of their own."
Jennifer M. Brown, Shelf Awareness for Readers
"An effective tale for young children, using deceptively, delightfully simple design work."
Jesse Karp, Booklist
"'Shhh. . .' said the wind.
'I blew and blew as hard as I might.
I toppled the tree found by the frog,
shaped by the snail,
that the bird made into paper that the fish cut into the pieces that the chicken saw lying around.'"
— from the book
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
One tiny circular scrap of paper is joined on the next double page by another, an orange pie shape. Next arrives a red flower, followed by several colors and shapes. They are assembled on the next double page into a chicken who claims, "They're mine!" But then an assembled fish appears, claiming he cut the pieces so they are his. Turning the page reveals a bird, who says he made the original paper. And so begins the cumulative text, as the cut paper forms a snail, who shaped the wood that the bird made into paper. The paper shapes next make a frog, who found the wood of the tree. A blank double page stands for the wind that toppled the tree. The wind blows the scraps up into the air for the final challenge to the reader: "What will you do?" with those shapes. This minimally visual story should appeal to design-conscious readers who enjoy playing games with shapes. The shapes and colors are attractive in their brightness and clarity, and should be easy to copy and use to create. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Crisp white dominates each page of this design-heavy import. The wind magically blows, "One tiny scrap of paper./Look, there's another!" beckoning readers to observe these bits and pieces closely. Young children will love counting them; there are seven: two small black circles, two larger blue-gray circles, a large sky-blue semicircle, an orange quarter-circle, and a red Matisse-inspired curvilinear shape. "Where did they come from? Whose are they?" invites kids into the cumulative tale, recounting the origin of the windblown shapes. Who tells the story? A series of bickering animals, each claiming ownership. At every page turn, readers are greeted by a different animal squawking, "They are mine!" The speakers have been cleverly transformed into collages composed of the same seven shapes, with a thick black line adding extra details. On the fish, the red lip shape is a fin; on the bird, a wing; and, on the chicken, a crest. This title is meant to encourage hands-on activity, so have your scissors and flannel board ready. The shapes are available as a free download. Marie Hall Ets's classic Gilberto and the Wind (Viking, 1963) is a perfect pairing.—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City
Where do the seven colored shapes come from, and whose are they? As the shapes come blowing across the clean, white pages, the chicken, the fish, the bird, the snail and the frog each in turn claim them using simple repetitive phrases. "They're mine!" says the chicken, created when the shapes arrange themselves in the form of its head. "I saw them lying around!" But it turns out only the wind has the power to transform the puzzlelike paper shapes into the bodies of each creature and to finally blow them high in the air so readers can "catch" them and make their own (imaginary) collages. The shapes arrange themselves differently on each page to challenge children to see them as different animals. French illustrator Manceau makes extravagant use of white space; the page opposite the text that reveals the wind's role in the drama is amusingly blank. The typeface looks light and insubstantial in relation to the strong graphic line of the illustrations. The text reads clumsily in places, possibly a poor translation from the French original, and is so sparse that some spreads are unsatisfying. A book that at first glance might seem minimalist to the point of vacuity bears closer scrutiny when one appreciates the function the paper shapes can have in allowing a child to identify them in different orientations and even to practice counting. (Picture book. 3-7)