Night Sky Wheel Ride by S. Fitch
Fitch, Sheree. Night Sky Wheel Ride. Illus. Yayo. Vancouver : Tradewind Books, 2012. Print.
Fans of Sheree Fitch will not be disappointed by the magical dream world circus presented in "Night Sky Wheel Ride". Young readers are drawn into the ethereal journey by the main characters as they wonder if they are up to the challenge of riding the big wheel: "Are we big enough this year, Mama? Are we brave enough, Brother? Sister are you ready to fly?" This book will work well as a bedtime or naptime story as Fitch's rhymes and scenarios are a little softer and less gregarious than some of her other books. For example, the siblings contemplate the night sky as they enjoy the ride:
"Swinging, swaying, staying / up top the stopped ferris wheel / Dizzy-dazed we gaze up
feel the moon's breath on our faces/soft as dandelion's fuzz".
However, there are certainly bursts of action and energy often accented by onomatopoeic words, such as when the children first take flight: “Hop up to knee knock rockety rock swiggle sway creak squeak rickety ratcheting up! up! up!”
Illustrator Yayo's images are bright, whimsical and echo a child's imagination and point of view where everyday objects morph into magic: a roller coaster glides along the curved edges of a laundry basket while the big wheel can be seen inside the spinning drum of a washing machine. There are forests of cotton candy, and the colourful dots of people “waayyy down on the ground” are drawn as "dancing jellybeans". The back and front covers and inside pages are particularly attractive as they feature phosphorescent images on a dark background.
Throughout the story the text is woven in and out of the illustrations to reflect the movements of the main characters and other objects. This helps to engage readers without hindering the storyteller as the text is large and legible. According the publisher's web site it is recommended for ages 3-4. It would make an excellent addition to a home, school or public library picture book collection.
Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Kim Frail
Kim is a Public Services Librarian at the H.T. Coutts Education Library at the University of Alberta. Children’s literature is a big part of her world at work and at home. She also enjoys gardening, renovating and keeping up with her kids.