Short Tales: The Girl Who Loved The Wind

November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have discovered a new love of illustrated children’s books. Short stories, encased in hard cover and liberally drawn. Full of age-old wisdom, sweet and gentle humor, beautiful pictures and poetically simple sentences. Online formats will not do them justice; these books beg to be held and gazed at slowly and reverently, read aloud softly and intimately to yourself, your child or to your entire family.

I discovered these “short tales” as part of my rite of passage – I was at the library with my son was looking for books to read to him at night, and I stumbled upon the children’s fairy tales section. A whole new world opened and I was soon choosing books for myself instead! I still read them at night, but I will be honest when I say that only some of them appealed to him. It didn’t matter – I still read it aloud to my husband and enjoyed them on my own. I’ve decided to share this series of “short tales” with you in the hopes that these books will not be forgotten. Here goes!

The idea for the series came to me with my third short tale: “The Girl Who Loved the Wind.” This out-of-print book by Jane Yolan is gorgeously illustrated and allegorically composed. It is about a girl with an overprotective father. He wants her to see and feel only happiness and good things, so he builds her an elaborate cocoon at the edge of the sea, constantly surrounded by servants who are ordered to look happy in young girl’s presence. This superficial haven is all she knows. But then, life slips in: a strong and vivacious wind blows into her home and into her mind. He sweeps in and out of her life on a whim, simultaneously taunting and tantalizing her about the world outside. And, because this is a fairy tale, she falls in love with him and breaks free.

Accompanying this fable are a set of illustrations that belong in an Ottoman palace. Ed Young, the illustrator, has recreated Persian and Moghul miniatures, imbuing them with an Arabian Nights quality. They are detailed, colorful and authentic. You can gave at the pictures forever and still be humbled at their magical qualities.

Sadly, this book is out-of-print, so it is very difficult for me to add it to my bookshelf. But I am thankful that my local library has a copy and knows how much I love it. Go and find this book. Pick it off the bookshelf and look at it. It will be a treasure.

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