Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind
Bartholomew Biddle’s adventure began, like so many do, on a dreary day. This dreary day was also a very windy one and the wind blew into Bartholomew’s house, seeming to beckon him; perhaps he could ride that wind and see where it would take him. Grasping the corners of his bed sheet, he fashions a crude sail and steps out of his window. “And that’s,” author Gary Ross tells us, “how Bartholomew took quite a ride.” BARTHOLOMEW BIDDLE AND THE VERY BIG WIND is an epic children’s poem and the first children’s book by Ross who is better known as an Academy Award-nominated movie screenwriter, director and producer.
"BARTHOLOMEW BIDDLE AND THE VERY BIG WIND is a fun and exciting read, perfect for reading aloud...Matthew Myers' color illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the tale, and the random un-illustrated pages leave room for the reader's imagination to take over."
Bartholomew first finds himself on an island inhabited by some fierce looking pirates. But, after he placates them with some bananas and a fuzzy sweater, they become fast friends. The pirates, it seems, just want to have fun, though the captain does admit that there is such a thing as too much fun. Bartholomew enjoys his time with the swashbucklers, but the urge to take to the skies is too great to ignore. So, after a farewell banquet he flies away again. Next he lands in a “sad little town” where the world is gray and muddy. Even the boys he sees coming out of school look monochromatic and beaten down by the rules. But Bartholomew makes a great friend in town, a boy named Densmore Horatio Pool. Densy, like Bart, longs for adventure and yearns to fly. He plans to leave with Bartholomew when the wind picks up but at the last minute is too afraid to go. So, once again, Bartholomew Biddle is flying solo. Where he lands this time, however, may end his flying career for good.
Bartholomew flutters down into a canyon where the wind never blows. There, he finds himself trapped with other flyers who are stuck as well. They came in on tornadoes, in circus tents and covered wagons --- even an umbrella --- which were lifted away by strong gusts. Amelia Earhart herself is there with her plane and her faithful dog, Jake. Everyone in the canyon tries to explain to Bartholomew that there is no way out: no way to climb to the top or catch the breeze. He is just about to succumb to the idea that he is stranded and will never fly again, when Densmore appears in the sky. Together, the two friends, with the assistance of the canyon inhabitants, hatch a plan to get out of the canyon and back into the sky.
BARTHOLOMEW BIDDLE AND THE VERY BIG WIND is a fun and exciting read, perfect for reading aloud. Ross’s rhyme scheme mostly works, though it is occasionally awkward or forced. Young readers will happily overlook (or fail to notice) any flaws because the story is interesting and moves at a good pace. Matthew Myers' color illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the tale, and the random un-illustrated pages leave room for the reader's imagination to take over.
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on November 2, 2012