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Wild Child by Lynn Plourde
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Wild Child

by Lynn Plourde

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Genre: Fantasy

Age appropriateness: Primary

Media: very thick, smooth watercolor paper, acrylic paint, and colored pencils

Review: This is a good example of fantasy because the earth takes on human form and characteristics. Mother Earth talks and guides a child to bed, but the child is a season. Autumn is being put to bed so winter can wake up. ( )
  KJackson | Feb 4, 2009 |
The word Mother has lots of different meanings to me because I am a daughter and a mother. It is sacred to me because I am a pagan and one aspect of deity for me is the Mother, the Goddess. Like so many others, I think of Nature as Mother, the Earth as Mother. This beautiful little story made me stop and think for a moment and reflect upon how the love our mothers give us is really our bedrock. It is the stability upon which we learn to balance our lives. It is our original source of nurture. It is the place we came for nourishment when we could not feed ourselves. It meant safety, trust, guidance...and so much more. When we feel like we are in a state of equilibrium we say that we are "grounded" and "centered" and these are fundamental feelings of well-being that we get from our mothers when we are still very small and they are the very world to us. The solid foundation that Motherhood gives to our lives makes all the difference in who we are and how rough or smooth the path we walk in life will be. In a very real sense, a mother's love is the very Earth beneath our feet.

I think this simple book says this in a whimsical, fun-loving way with easy rhyming text and vivid light-filled illustrations. Don't get me wrong...this is a sweet book intended for the 4 to 8 year old readership. It is not preachy or heavy in any way. However, the love that comes through in the art and in the words says so much that a child needs to know. It says my child is special, treasured, loved unconditionally. It says my child is an individual and she is perfect as she is...unique and gloriously beautiful...and mine...heart of my heart, my beautiful child who brings me great joy. It says run and play and grow and I will watch over you and I will guide you for I am your loving mother. It says all this but in simple, sometimes silly onomatopoeia and alliteration and with rhymes that don't always quite work...but the listeners do not mind because they're snuggled close in Mother's arms. I love this book because it seems to work a little bit of magic. It says a lot by its actions, subtle things a child can absorb into his or her character by the alchemy of a Mother's love.

Wild Child is the story of Mother Earth's wild little child, Autumn. Mother Earth wants Autumn to get ready to go to sleep. Of course, Wild Child Autumn has lots of stalling tactics that she uses to postpone the inevitable bedtime. First she needs a song. "Not for a while," said her wild child. "A song, first, I need a song to play in my head before going to bed." In the dazzling oranges and yellows of autumn trees and the brilliant turquoise and blue of its clear skies we see mother Earth as a mountain, as the swell of the plains, her hair the wavy rows of the furrowed fields. Across double page spreads the colors swirl like a windswept blaze of colored leaves, chipmunks scamper with acorns in their mouths and little Wild Child with her hair and clothing streaming with leaves gazes into Mother Earth's face with adoring eyes as she gives her child a song.

As Mother sings her song about the season her Wild Child frolics with the geese and the migrating songbirds, her hair streaming behind her, as they take flight in wedges across the pages.

Oh, but a song is not all a little wild child needs before bedtime. Oh no. "A bite, first. I need a bite, a little snack before taking a nap." Greg Couch's paintings splash the abundance of Autumn's harvest across page after page...as a flood of big orange pumpkins and a hail of chestnuts spill from Mother Earth's apron to the delight of Wild Child. Crunchy, munchy, chewy chestnuts. Plumpy, lumpy, pulpy pumpkins.
We dance through the joys of the season, enjoying the harvest and sharing the kinship and love between Mother Earth and her child...who, by the way, also needs to have PJs before going to bed. Wait until you see the "fiery, flaming reddish nightgown" that Mother dresses Autumn in. Then of course, Wild Child needs a kiss before bed.

Eventually, all the playful tricks of postponing bedtime are exhausted and so is a certain little Wild Child. Comfortable and secure in her Mother's love, with a full tummy and warm jammies she drifts peacefully off to sleep. With her babe tucked securely under a blanket of snow, Mother Earth herself, can finally rest her head...Uh, oh...What's this? Here comes Winter, bouncing on the bed. "Can't sleep," he says.

I think the text is spirited and exhilarating and will hold the interest of a little one without bogging them down too much in big words. They can concentrate on the feeling of the fun and loving mother-child bond. Without them even knowing it they are being reminded that they themselves are loved. I think they will enjoy the crinkle, crackle, snapple, twitter, scatter words for the sheer enthusiasm they illustrate, the busy, bustling enthusiasm of an autumn day.

As fun as the text is, the real treasure of this book is the artwork! Couch notes that the original work was done on museum board which is like very thick, smooth watercolor paper. He put down many washes of liquid acrylic paint then added details for the faces, clothes, trees, and animals with colored pencils. The colors are so bright and seem to glow with an inner light just like the perfect autumn day. I cannot resist turning the pages and I know that a child will surely love to as well. The action in the pages is windy, crisp, exhilarating and brisk. The colors sweep and swirl across the pages. Wild Child is having so much fun as she romps from page to page with her bountiful Mother close behind her.

Wild Child is one book in a four book series by the Plourde/Couch team that also includes the following titles:
Winter Waits
Spring's Sprung
Summer's Vacation.
Each of the books about Mother Earth and her children, the Seasons, is a treat. ( )
  Treeseed | Mar 4, 2008 |
a beautiful and lyrical celebration of fall ( )
  emtimmins | Oct 30, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689863497, Paperback)

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. In a satisfying tribute to the wonders of nature and family, Mother Earth attempts to put her wild child, Autumn, to bed, but Autumn isn't quite ready.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Summary: "Time for bed," Mother Earth said. "Not for a while," said her wild child. "A song, first. I need a song to play in my head before going to bed." So Mother Earth gave her child a song.... But then this wild child wants a snack and pj's and a kiss. (From back cover)… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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