Flora’s Very Windy Day

Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Matt Phelan

FlorasVeryWindyDayFlora got upset when her little brother, Crispin, knocked over her paints, again.  Their mother sent them outside to play.

Flora protested, saying that the wind was so strong it would blow her away.  Then Flora said:  “Of course, I could wear my super-special heavy-duty red boots.  They’ll keep me from being blown away.”

They bundled up, and Flora put on her special red boots. Crispin had only regular purple boots that “couldn’t do anything but keep his feet dry.”

The wind blew, but Flora laughed at it and told it that she was wearing her special red boots so it couldn’t blow her away.  The wind blew harder, but Flora laughed at it.

“However,” said Flora, “you may notice that my little brother is wearing regular old purple boots.”

So the wind blew harder still, and lifted Crispin off the ground.  Flora realized that her little brother was being blown away.  She kicked off her special red boots, and went sailing up after Crispin, and held on to his hand as they were blown away together.  They were frightened at first, but soon realized that the wind was comfortable, like “riding along on a squishy flying chair.”

Several different things approached Flora, asking her to give them Crispin:  a dragonfly, a sparrow, a rainbow, a cloud, an eagle, and the man in the moon.  Each time, Flora said no, “He’s my brother and I’m taking him home.”

Finally Flora asked the wind to let them go home.  The wind replied it would as soon as it found the right spot for Crispin, since Flora wanted to get rid of him.  Flora realized that she didn’t really want Crispin to go away, and the wind took them home.

There likely are times in the lives of most young older siblings when they wish (even briefly) that they didn’t have a younger sibling.  Underneath that momentary frustration, they really don’t wish any harm to the toddler or baby…..it’s just hard to remember when paints are knocked over, favorite stuffed animals are being chewed on, or a grown-up is busy with baby.  This is a very sweet book showing a big sister who realizes that she really does love her brother.


Blueberry Shoe

Blueberry Shoe by Ann Dixon, illustrated by Evon Zerbetz

Blueberry ShoeA family – mother, father, sister, and baby/toddler brother – loved to pick blueberries.  Each year at the end of the summer, they went berry picking on the side of the same mountain in Alaska.

One summer, sometime during the family’s hike up the mountain, their blueberry picking time, or their hike down the mountain, baby brother lost his shoe.  It fell off – perhaps while he was being carried in the backpack

The family hiked (trudged, as they were tired by then) back up and looked everywhere for the small shoe.  They couldn’t find the shoe, and went home with the blueberries.

That night, a vole came across the shoe and thought it would make a very nice nest.  She nibbled shoelaces, and crawled inside to sleep.  When the vole awoke, she went foraging for food, and couldn’t find her new nest again.

The vole couldn’t find the shoe because a fox had picked it up and taken it away.

“It smells strongly of vole,”  thought mother fox.  “It’s a plaything for my kits!”  She trotted toward home, but stopped at the top of the hill.  With a nip of her teeth she bit through the sole.  A shake of her head tossed the plaything sky high.”

The shoe landed in some bushes, and frightened a ptarmigan (bird).  The fox chased the bird, gave up, and looked for the shoe….which wasn’t anywhere to be found.

“Meanwhile, Baby’s shoe was being seriously sniffed by a big brown bear.  “Curious,”  mumbled the bear.  “This tiny morsel smells of fox and vole.”

The bear tossed the shoe into a blueberry patch, then began digging for squirrels – sending dirt flying everywhere.  Of course, when the bear gave up on the squirrels, he couldn’t find the shoe.  So, he munched on blueberries and headed off.

Fall ended.  Blueberries dried and fell from bushes.  Winter came – and with it blankets of snow.  Finally, summer came again.

The family returned to the mountain to pick blueberries.  They laughed, and picked berries – all of them hiking this time as the baby was older now.  While picking blueberries, Sister found the lost shoe.  Everyone wondered how a blueberry plant was now growing in the shoe.

“But who planted the blueberry?” wondered Sister.

“Who filled the shoe with dirt?” wondered Dad.

“Who poked holes for the roots and the rain?”  wondered Mama.

Baby wondered, “Who took my shoelace?”

The family picked blueberries, munching and filling buckets, then headed back down the mountain.

“When back down the mountain the family crept, berry-stained, smiling, and tired, each carried a bucket brimful of blueberries – except Baby, who carried a bucket full of shoe.”

The family took the shoe home and planted it in their garden.  The next summer, the little blueberry shoe plant grew a blueberry – and Baby picked it.

This is a fun story of family, and also of the animals that find the shoe.  It makes me think a little of Jan Brett’s The Mitten – with the different animals finding the shoe.  Zerbetz’s illustrations are fun, colorful, and lively.  A good book to share with children – who will want to keep reading to see who finds the shoe next.