“The books fails to reach its potential despite an intriguing basis in a true story and wonderful illustrations.”
While everyone around him finds the wind—embodied in a young, spirit-like girl with wild blue hair—a nuisance, young Poul finds her fascinating. When the girl sweeps away carefully planted flowers, he realizes she simply doesn’t “always know her own strength,” and when she blows out the candles at a birthday party—much to the disappointment of the birthday boy—Poul sees “she just wanted to help.” As Poul looks on at a kite tangled in a tree, the wild girl sitting on his shoulders and holding his head with one hand while the other is raised to her mouth in an expression of concern at the problem she has caused a group of kids, he reassures her that he and she “just need to show them” how special she is. He begins building a windmill in the middle of town, hoping people will learn to appreciate what the wild girl offers. As the girl sweeps through the turbines and the crowd looks on from below, everyone’s hair dramatically swept to one side, the looks of delight and awe on their faces confirm Poul has succeeded. An endnote explains that Poul’s character is inspired by Poul la Cour, a Danish inventor who made significant contributions to the field of wind power. Negley’s abstract, gorgeous aquarelle and digital illustrations also include cut papers, adding an inventive, creative touch to the jumbled houses where Poul works. Tracking Poul over time and seeing him grow into a mature individual actually capable of building a windmill, as well as including more in the story outside of the endnote about wind energy, would have improved the book reach its full, promising potential.
Inspired by the work of wind pioneer Poul la Cour, The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl is the imagined story of the invention of wind turbines, featuring themes perfect for Earth Day.
Everyone thought the wild blue girl was a nuisance.
Everyone, that is, but Poul.
This is a clever and inspiring story of how curiosity and observation can bring about change in the world.
Where others saw an annoyance, Poul saw something that could be useful. When have you been curious to learn more about something that other people didn’t seem to like?
Poul’s work with wind turbines and generating electricity from the wind continues to impact the world today. What efforts can you make to help protect and conserve the Earth?
Keith Negley is the author and illustrator of Mary Wears What She Wants, My Dad Used to Be So Cool, and Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too). He has received multiple medals from the Society of Illustrators as well as recognition from American Illustration. His artwork has been featured in countless publications, and he is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and the New Yorker. Keith lives with his family on the side of a small mountain that sits next to a big lake just outside of Bellingham, WA. On good days he can see bald eagles from his studio window.
This book is for all of you who work for a greener tomorrow. May the wild blue girl always be at your back.