Cassie cradles the swift in her hands. Already it senses the wind in its feathers and when Cassie sets it free as she floats in her balloon across the sky it joins its fellows as they fly on the wings of the wind towards a distant destination. And it is the wind that is their companion in all its moods – the trade winds driving commerce, cyclones, powerful, destructive, storms whipping up crested waves, sculpting desert sands, eroding rocks into art forms and caves. The wind is their passage to another country where a boy welcomes them as harbinger of summer. There they will stay to bring up a family before setting off once more with the wind blowing across the world.
In Rhythm of the Rain, we followed the path of a raindrop as it travelled across the world, an element connecting two children. Here, we take to the sky – the air that surrounds our world, an element that is far from passive, full of currents some as gentle as a breeze, others mighty storms – the wind. Once again we meet two children – Cassie and Kûn – but it is not just the wind, it is a swift, a tiny migrant, that is the connection. Here we have a story that brings information and imagination together through words and image. Baker-Smith’s text is neither dull nor dry. The cyclone is ‘a great spiral howling with stormy power’, the wind ‘sculpts echoes in the sand’ – the vocabulary conjures pictures. And the illustrations give them life – saturated colour spreads create a feast for the eye – wild white horses of foam, strange rock formations – and across the sky the tiny flock of birds. This is a book to delight and inform; to share and to inspire.