Blue Sky

illus. by author. unpaged. Scholastic/Blue Sky. Mar. 2012. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-31610-1. LC 2011010374.
PreS-KT—This tall, narrow picture book relates what could be a single day in the life of a family through a sequence of pages focused not on the figures, but on the sky above them. A "blue sky" changes to a "storm sky," "rainbow sky," "sunset sky," etc., and finally a "dream sky" as the family enjoys a trip to the beach and the progression of the day from morning to night. On the bottom of each spread, a child with wild, curly hair and a stuffed monkey companion dreamily gaze at the heavenly changes taking place. The only text is the two-word description of each skyscape, cleverly drawn in Wood's vibrant pastel illustrations. Color tones range from cool blues, purples, and grays to fiery yellows and oranges depending on the time of day depicted, while figures appear in everything from full-color renderings to shadowy silhouettes. With its simple text and large imagery, this book is an excellent choice for storytimes. Suggest it also to preschool teachers seeking materials for weather, time, or nature units.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Wood presents a succession of double-page spreads showing various skies, from "blue sky" to "sunset sky" to "moon sky." In each spread, the words are incorporated into the pastel art: the letters of "rain sky" drip; those of "storm sky" resemble lightning. The progression through the day and the subplot of a boy and his toy monkey make for a satisfying journey.
Proving once again that picture books don't have to be complex or painterly to succeed, Wood (author of The Napping House) here presents a succession of double-page spreads showing skies, from "blue sky" to "sunset sky" to "moon sky" -- and ends the book with a beginning: "new sky." The spreads are held together by a story (told in pictures) featuring a small boy and his toy monkey. The boy -- easily recognizable because of his mop of curly red hair -- and his family wait out a storm ("rain sky") and then head to the beach, enjoying their day by the shore all the way through "star sky." In each spread, the words are incorporated into the pastel art, so that the letters of "rain sky" drip; the letters of "storm sky" are as jagged as lightning; the letters on the quite glorious spread "star sky" are made up of twinkling points of light; etc. The progression through the day makes for a satisfying journey and a nifty bedtime story. Pre-readers will enjoy the range of palettes and scenes and the game of spot-the-monkey; brand-new readers will find many helpful clues (even the more abstract "wish sky" is easily guessed thanks to the shooting star outside the boy's bedroom window). Wood's fresh, clever picture book may even inspire children to come up with their own ideas for skies: see suggestions on back cover. martha v. parravano

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