The Windy Day
Ted McGee is a professor of English at St. Jerome’s College,
University of Waterloo.
This book, which strives to capture children’s experience of the wind,
is an exuberant romp, both in the riotous color of the pictures and in
the simple story of the joyous play of children who converge in a park
with the hat-snatching wind. As there are children diverse in race,
ethnicity, and physical attributes, so there is a world of hats gathered
together by the wind: “Golden crowns, and a crown of shells. Hats with
butterflies and birds. A sombrero and a Haida hat. A feather hat from
Cameroon. ... Why, even Thomas’s hat was there!” The natural world,
with its “bright clouds,” “grinning oak,” and “dancing”
colors, reflects and intensifies the happiness and the harmony of the
children; even when an eerie darkness creeps over the park, the shadows
of the hats continue to dance in the moonlight.
A strong thread of mystery unifies the book, which opens with “The
wind has a secret” and ends with “Thomas smiled. He knew the secret
of the wind.” Neither his mother nor his father do, though they too
both lost their favorite hats on the windy day. The children in this
book have a special knowledge of the world and a splendid capacity to
enjoy it. Highly recommended.