Book review: A Story Like the Wind, by Gill Lewis, illustrated by Jo Weaver

Lewis, Gill. A Story Like the Wind. Illustrated by Jo Weaver. Eerdmans, 2018. 71 pages. $16.00. ISBN 9780802855145. Ages 8-14. P7 Q9

Strangers—refugees—fleeing a Middle Eastern war in a tiny rubber dinghy face the cold, windy, dark night on a restless sea and find solace in sharing their memories.   Monochromatic blue-green illustrations carry a feeling of loss, separation and chill as the strangers huddle together and share their scarce resources: food, drink, a shawl.  As his only contribution a boy plays his violin—his last possession—relating a Mongolian folk tale about the origin of the instrument, an abandoned white foal, the boy who saved him, and the tyrant who coveted and killed the white stallion he became.

Verdict: This book, originally published in 2017 by Oxford Children’s Books, uses the story-within-a-story frame to bring readers to understand the immense fragility of refugee life and also the resilience of the human spirit which can draw strangers together in the face of adversity.  This gorgeous book belongs in every public and middle school library.  Highly recommended.

June 2019 review by Jane Cothron.

Book review: The Storyteller’s secrets, by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Peter Bailey

Mitton, Tony. The Storyteller’s Secrets. Illustrated by Peter Bailey. David Fickling Books, 2009. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-385-75190-2. 125 p. Gr. 4 – 6. P7Q9

mitton-storytellers-secretsTwins, Toby and Tess, meet a mysterious old traveler who fascinates them with his magical tales of far-off places, strange enchantments, and unbelievable occurrences. Each time he visits the village he brings them a new tale and a special story-reminder from the bundle that he carries on his back.

Review by student: J. R.

Editor’s note: This frame story of Teller, a traveling storyteller, and the twins Toby and Tess, includes 5 adaptations of folk tales retold in verse: The woodcutter’s daughter, St. Brigid’s cloak, The seal hunter, The pedlar of Swaffham, Tam Lin, The map of marvels, and Five fragments. Brief prose sections frame the overarching story.