Winter is in full force with a series of less-than-desirable weather scenarios playing out across the country for this evening and weekend. Extreme temperatures, snow and rainfall, and high winds figure in the mix. This is, whether you embrace this season or not, an ideal time to dream of a balmy setting.
If we could spend a single day, now, in pure sunny summer perfection, what would we do? Run Wild (Viking, Penguin Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, June 5, 2018) written and illustrated by David Covell gives us one such day. It's a joyous exploration of making the most of every minute.
(forget your shoes)
and . . .
This introduction is an invitation to drop everything inside and leave to enjoy the outside. A girl runs past her friend's window and his split-second decision has him sprinting to join her. Running in bare feet, they feel the field's grasses and wildflowers on their soles and in their souls.
A rabbit runs away from them. Mud puddles are wet trampolines. Creepy crawlies are new best friends. A path through the woods leads to blazing sand and crystal cool sea water.
A plunge into the shoreline depths is a welcome respite. Floating on one's back allows for speculation and imagination to thrive. In mere minutes the blue changes to black, mirroring life. Running from a storm is challenging, but the hand of a friend says get up and go.
As a golden globe dips below the horizon, two pals pursue the last of the day's offering. Now a full moon guides them home. We are one with the wild.
Your pulse quickens as you read the phrases penned by David Covell. With each new narrative shout, declaration and question, you are a willing member of the playful party. Each single word description sizzles with life in our natural world. Repetition of run and wild create a singular beat with the other rhyming words. Here are some phrases.
All day long,
the sun's gonna
Take a deep breath.
Be a fish in
the salty sea.
Looking at the matching open dust jacket and book case, readers are shown two different perspectives. On the front the bare feet among flowers, grass and ferns, is a pointed pause. This design with the bird in flight and the ladybug perched on two toes is wonderful. The brush-stroke lettering promises wonder within the pages of this title.
To the left on the back, the canvas continues. In-between the text, the girl, a rabbit and the boy run. The words read:
Chase the wind.
Can you grab it?
Go ahead . . .
On the opening and closing endpapers readers are given views of the forest, first in the morning and at last during the evening. In the gaps of the trees are leaves and leafy tops and a girl and a boy running . . . wild.
On the verso and title pages to the left the girl runs toward her friend's house on the right. A page turn shows the inside of the home in grays and black with the boy holding a hand-held device. His pal races past. The remainder of the pages are a colorful tribute in loose lines, fluid paint washes and varying points of view to the supreme happiness to be found in a field, forest and sea. We see feet, legs and a lower body in motion as the girl partner races ahead. Close to us a rabbit scampers off to avoid the dashing duo.
There is a mix of double-page pictures and full-page images to pair with the pacing. White space is used with excellence to frame visuals of varying sizes. It also accentuates emotion.
One of my many, many favorite illustrations spans two pages. A swirly wash of water covers about a fourth of the bottom. On the left and the right one foot lifts from the sea. Blue outlines of clouds float above and past the feet on a light, creamy sky. A brightly-hued butterfly is nearly alight on the right foot. This is a scene in which many can identify; floating on one's back in the water as the gentle waves lap around you.
If you missed this 2018 treasure, then don't waste another second without reading it. Run Wild written and illustrated with a combination of intention and abandon by David Covell is one of The 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books. It is an exuberant ode to a season and our natural world. It will enhance your personal and professional collections.
To learn more about David Covell and his other work, please follow the link attached to his name to access his website. David also has another site drawing attention to his books. David maintains accounts on Facebook and Instagram. David's work is featured at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, the site of author, reviewer and blogger Julie Danielson. You will want to go there to see the progression and final art for this book. At the publisher's website you can also view interior images.