Ruttan , Molly

Something Wild

(2) K-3 Hannah loves playing the violin, but she dreads performing in an upcoming recital. Mixed-media illustrations (charcoal, acrylic paint, pastel, and digital media) deftly swing between the girl's reality and her fantasies as the time of the recital looms closer. "She secretly wished something wild would happen," and after the page-turn, a bird outside her window (highlighted with a visual spotlight) becomes an entire flock whisking her recital outfit out the door "so she wouldn't have to go." The next page reveals the truth and a narrative refrain: "But nothing wild happened." The rabbits she conjures up from under the kitchen floor do not run away with her violin, nor do the outdoor fountain dolphins carry her away on their backs. Pastel shades become vivid swirling colors in Hannah's imagination but always dull again to recall her real-life plight. Soon she finds herself heading onstage, where art and text work together to manifest her nervousness, and the spotlight that has signaled magic throughout the story now centers on her. When Hannah starts to play, the art turns bold and fantastical again as she loses her self-consciousness in the joy of playing her violin. Small visual details throughout, including Hannah's lively siblings and her father's quick stop to buy flowers, make the book especially warm. It closes with a family celebration; however, some of the swirling lines and bold color remain, leaving Hannah and readers awash in the heady glow of a memorable and inspiring performance.


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