May 25, 2012
New book by Sheree Fitch: Night Sky Wheel Ride
A new book by Sheree Fitch is a very important event in our house, and so we were overjoyed to get our copy of Night Sky Wheel Ride yesterday. It’s the story of a Ferris wheel ride against a night sky and the dark sea, a brother and sister ecstatic at finally being big enough to ride. “Are we big enough this year, Mama?/ Are we brave enough, Brother?/ Sister, are you ready to fly?” Fitch’s free verse is delicious to recite, full of twists and turns that melt “sticky quick on the tips of our tongues.” Rhymes and repetition replicate the Ferris wheel’s momentum, and apart from the people down below who are “dancing jelly beans”, the poem’s imagery stays pretty literal because when you’re dealing with a Ferris wheel, metaphors aren’t entirely necessary. The illustrations, however, tell an altogether different story, Yayo taking cues from the language and pushing the story even further with a furious whimsy, turning everything into absolutely nothing like it seems. His Ferris wheel is an apple tree, a rowboat, a washing machine’s spin cycle, a bird perch.”Can you hear the mermaids murmur/beluga whales sing/ feel the whirling stir/ of every little humming phosphorescent thing?”
The story takes on a special poignancy when you learn the story behind it.