Negley, Keith

The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl

(2) K-3 Somewhat obliquely, Negley personifies the wind as a "wild blue girl." Here, the feral youngster speeds about, uncontrollable, all throughout Denmark. Rather than reacting with exasperation, a boy named Poul (who is in fact Danish scientist and inventor Poul la Cour, as we learn in the back matter) attempts to harness her energy, which he finally does with the invention of the first wind turbine, thus generating electricity for his small village. The breezy mixed-media illustrations visually fly across the pages, with leaves and kites and flowers falling victim to the chaos and commotion the wild blue girl creates. These single pages and double-page spreads slow down the pace as Poul initially plans how to control the wind, and Negley uses spot art to depict the first steps in Poul's process of invention. As Poul builds his newfangled contraption in the village square, the townspeople wonder what it could be; they soon find out as illustrations morph from the bulky lines of the original structure to the sleek lines of the modern turbine. This unusually metaphorical fact-inspired picture book concludes with an author's note and archival photograph of the adult Poul la Cour.


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