About the Holiday
Hold onto your hats—maybe even your hair! On April 12, 1934 three weather surveyors at the Mount Washington Observatory registered the highest wind gusts ever recorded—231 miles per hour! Mount Washington is located in New Hampshire and at 6,288 feet is the highest peak in the Northeast United States and east of the Mississippi River. Since that blustery event, big wind day has been celebrated on this day.
When the Wind Blows
Written by Linda Booth Sweeney | Illustrated by Jana Christy
A little boy peeks out his rattling window as the wind sends chimes ringing and doors creeaaaking. Jumbled into their jackets the boy’s mom, baby sister, and grandmother go out to enjoy the day. They fly a kite while nearby bells clang and walkers stroll hand in hand. In the sweeping wind “Trees dance. / Spiders curl. / Mice shiver. / Leaves swirl.”
When the wind snatches the kite, the boy and his grandma chase after it amid clouds racing across the sky and seeds scattering to and fro. Running after the kite through waving beach grass, the family sees “Sails puff. / Boats wobble. / Gulls float. / buoys bobble.” Their pursuit takes them into town where they track down their kite lying on a sidewalk. When the wind blows on these narrow seaside village lanes, “Signs shake. / Lights jiggle. / Puddles splosh. / We giggle.”
With the kite safely in hand the foursome ventures to the park for some rolling, swaying, whirling play. But the day is graying—“Skies darken. / Thunder BOOMS. / Rain falls. / We zoom!” Back at home all is cozy as the family dries off and the little boy takes a bath. Tucked into bed the little boy and his mom cuddle while their pets curl up on the blankets. As they sleep, “Skies clear. / Stars gleam. / Earth sleeps. / We dream.”
Linda Booth Sweeney’s charming tale of a day spent in the midst of a windy day perfectly captures the sights and sounds of such a gusty natural event. Sweeney’s eye for detail and talent for evocative verbs elevate the two-word lines in these short verses, letting readers fully experience the effects of a wild squall. Kids will appreciate the original imagery and love repeating the lyrical lines.
The blustery wind is evident in Jana Christy’s vibrant pastel illustrations, where clouds swirl in scribbles, flowers bow, and buffeted grasses protect small creatures. Everywhere, the wind flutters head scarves and clothing, bends signs, and tears hats and kites from unsuspecting hands. As rain approaches Christy’s skies acquire a gray, gauzy texture, and when the family again reaches home, the colors turn warm and bright, as comforting as a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Readers will be rewarded for lingering over the beautiful pages by seeing details and people carried over from page to page, uniting the story.
Ages 3 – 6
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group, 2015 | ISBN 978-0399160158
National Big Wind Day Activity
Catch the Wind! Windsock
You can feel the wind in your hair and see it blowing through the trees, but can you actually catch it? You can with this easy-to-make windsock!
- 1 large yogurt container (32 oz) or 1-pound deli salad container
- 1 long-sleeve T-shirt
- Strong glue
- Dowel, 5/8 diameter x 48-inches long or longer
- Rubber band
- sewing seam ripper or cuticle scissors
- X-acto knife
- Remove the sleeve from a long-sleeve t-shirt with the seam ripper or cuticle scissors
- Cut the shoulder off the sleeve by cutting straight across from the underarm seam
- Cut 2 inches from the bottom of the yogurt container OR cut the bottom out of the deli container with the x-acto knife or scissors
- With the x-acto knife or scissors, make a hole a little smaller than the diameter of the dowel about 1 inch from the rim of the container
- Slide the container into the large opening of the sleeve
- Fold about a ¾ -inch edge over the rim of the container and attach all along the rim with strong glue
- Put the rubber band around the outside edge of the opening
- Tie the bottom of the sleeve’s cuff together with the string
- To attach the dowel: Option 1: leaving the t-shirt in place, push the dowel and material through the hole in the container. The t-shirt material will hold the dowel in place (I used this option). Option 2: cut a small hole in the t-shirt at the location of the hole in the container. Push the dowel through this hole and the hole in the container. Secure with strong glue
- Stick your windsock in the ground in an open area where it can catch the wind. As the wind changes direction, you can turn your windsock so the opening faces the wind.