Woodpecker Girl

Reycraft. May 2020. 40p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781478869542.
PreS-Gr 4–In simple language, Yipei Huang, a young girl in a ghostly white wheelchair, explains how her cerebral palsy may have originated, spends quiet days watching others run around playing, sees her sister romp with their puppy, and wonders what it might be like if she could sing. The authors never dip into pathos, but give the story strength with a matter-of-fact approach. In illustrations that have the look of gouache dreamscapes, readers will observe a woodpecker who soars through every frame, a white bunny, and the solitary days of our heroine. An art teacher, observing the movements of her head, fits her with a band and a brush she can dip into colors and dot onto pages, and then the narrator soars, too. It is exhausting to create in this manner, she tells us, but it is what she loves, and it makes her forget everything else. Only in the back matter do we learn that Yipei Huang’s story is true and that her classmates named her “Woodpecker Girl” after watching her work. The illustrations incorporate Yipei’s own pieces, and it should surprise no one if the children who come across this book want to try being woodpeckers themselves.
VERDICT The art-filled lesson that “an imperfect body can also lead to a perfect life” excludes no one from its net. A wistful, wondrous work.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing