Ewing provides lively illustrations in spicy colors to Penn's story, an enticing blend of whimsy and education on the vagaries of weather. Sitting in her yard, a little girl named Mandi sees a perfect snowflake land on a warm spring day. She is amazed and even more taken aback when the flake, Parden, speaks to her. Parden's winter cloud has sailed off course and he has slipped away from his fellow blues, the flukes in charge of snow and ice. As his tale unfolds, Mandi meets a spring fluke who organizes the crew in a rain cloud to take Parden back to his friends. A dancer with the New York City Ballet and other major companies, Penn was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, which ended her career but opened the door to another in children's books. Most of her royalties from this one will go to the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis section, National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. (611)
K-Gr 3 Neither a fantasy nor a beginning science concept book, Blue Out of Season is a combination of the two. In rhyming iambic lines, Penn explains seasonal precipitation through creatures called ``flukes'' which are in charge of each season's weather. The thin story line involves a girl who finds a beautiful snowflake in the spring. The flake, whose name is Parden, tries to remain cold until it can go back to its winter cloud, while the spring, summer and fall flukes explain their forms of precipitation. Eventually the blue winter fluke finds his way back to pick up the lost snowflake. The lines are not written in stanza divisions, so young readers may not even recognize the form and rhyme. The mixture of scientific and invented words may be confusing to those wanting to understand the workings of nature. Illustrations are soft, pastel drawings suitable to the fantasy, if vaguely reminiscent of the illustrations in the ``Fraggle Rock'' (Holt) books. Children will find a science book on weather more satisfying. Yvonne A. Frey, Peoria Pub . Lib . , Ill.