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Windblown: Edouard Manceau

Book: Windblown
Author: Edouard Manceau
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3-7 

Windblown by Edouard Manceua is a concept book, part book about shapes, part book about animals, and part cumulative text. Several tiny scraps of paper are blown, one by one, onto the early pages of the book (as shown on the cover). Then a chicken declares ownership of the scraps, which are magically assembled to form a chicken's head.

"They're mine!" said the chicken.
"I saw them lying around!"

A fish takes exception to this, having cut the paper into pieces before the chicken saw them lying around. The pieces are used to form a fish in the picture. Then a bird claims to have made the paper, and so on. Each animal goes further back into the process of creating paper, even as the illustrations show the same shapes used to render the different animals.

Some of the illustrations work better than others, but it's a nice trick that the same seven shapes can be used to draw several different creatures. At the end of the book, the author suggests that the reader use the shapes to do something else. 

Both text and pictures are quite minimalist in Windblown, making it rather remarkable that the author is able to do so much with so little. We have counting, shapes, animals, and (in a very simplified fashion) the process by which paper is made. All in a book in which all of the illustrations are made with only minor additions to the seven basic shapes (most of which are circles). 

Windblown is a book that could work for very young children, who just like to look at the shapes. But I think that the primary audience is probably kids who are learning how to draw. You could use it as a predecessor to books that more directly given drawing instruction. I can also imagine tracing the shapes and cutting out copies, so that my child could move them around herself. (Librarians beware - I can also imagine kids let loose with scissors just cutting the shapes right out of the book.) 

For those looking for something a bit different, with a modern art sort of flavor in picture book form, Windblown is well worth a look. Recommended for home and for preschool use. 

Publisher: Owlkids Books (@OwlKids)
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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