HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Gilberto and the Wind
Author and Illustrator: Marie Hall Ets
Publisher: Live Oak Media, republished in 2004
ISBN-13: 978-0808535867 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0808535862 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1591128373 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1591128374 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Ets, Marie Hall. Gilberto and the Wind (originally published in 1963 by Viking Press; republished in 1978 by Puffin). In this thoughtful picture book, a young boy named Gilberto discovers that the wind can be an unpredictable playmate with many moods. The wind introduces itself by whispering “You-ou-ou,” then whips his balloon out of his hands and carries it into a tree. Sometimes it helps him to sail his toy boat, catch apples that fall from the trees, and spin his pinwheel. At other times, it keeps him from flying his kite or raking leaves. It can even blow dirt and turn umbrellas inside out. In the end, he and the wind affirm their special bond as Gilberto lies down and goes to sleep with the wind beneath a tree.
While the book is very simple, it also has a very deep, sobering meaning to it that younger kids might not fully get, but they can still enjoy it. The graphics are interesting; like many from the early 1960’s, they are rendered in three colors only, but Ets makes the most of them, creating dramatic contrasts and a mysterious mood. The story would make an excellent introduction to a unit on wind. Marie Hall Ets has written several lovely, understated stories about small children interacting with the natural world, including Play with Me, Mister Penny, Elephant in a Well, and Nine Days to Christmas.