Rink Bowagon lives with his bizarrely gifted family of shape-shifters at the top of a wilderness-encircled mountain, far from the school where his fellow pupils prefer to keep their distance from this shy and different child. Their coolness enables him to protect the secret of his ability to grow flowers from all over his body at full moon.
But Rink is also a secret craft worker and mathematician, and when a lame girl shows up at the school, he deploys these skills ingeniously in order to enable her to dance. Barefoot’s intention to combine the work of authors and artists in celebration of human diversity is well met here. Wojtowicz’s short, weird and appealing romance illustrates themes of difference, inclusion and altruism whimsically, yet with sufficient resonance for younger children to appreciate. Adams’ full page and double page naïve pastel paintings, within which the clear and generously spaced text nestles, vividly depict an all too unfamiliar world in which kindness and magic triumph.