Blue Sky Book Reviews

Kirkus Reviews Jan 1, 2012

This depiction of the stratosphere in its ever-shifting splendor offers a catalog of concepts for young readers. Arms outstretched, smiling face raised and backlit with the rising sun’s glow, the child on the cover radiates infectious joy. Readers follow him (and his family and stuffed monkey) through a series of double-page spreads during which the firmament changes from Cloud Sky / Rain Sky / Storm Sky to the eventual Wish Sky / Sleep Sky / Dream Sky.

“A high-voltage stimulus package…”

There is no particular rhythm or rhyme scheme; the text (shaped, colored and decorated to support the message) simply declares possible and imagined changes in a 24-hour period. Wood’s decision to use pastel paper in deep colors for the backgrounds and compose with gouache highlights and colored pencils contributes to the sensory delight. Vibrant and marvelous as her lines are, it is the texture and tint of the underlying paper that maximizes the sizzle of the sunset and the connection between the lavender moonlight and its reflection in the sea. Compositions vary from scenes in which the dramatic patterns of natural phenomena overwhelm viewers to spacious spreads offering visual rest. The cycle and book close when the cover image is paired with New Sky. A high-voltage stimulus package that encourages close observation of and imaginative thinking about nature, not to mention playing with print to express ideas.

School Library Journal February 2012

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.

“. . . cleverly drawn in Wood’s vibrant pastel illustrations.”

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

Horn Book March/April 2012

“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.

” . . . a satisfying journey and a nifty bedtime story.”

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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