Cover image for The weather's bet
The weather's bet
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Retells the fable, "The Wind and the Sun," in which Wind, Rain, and Sun attempt to remove the cap of a shepherdess. Collage illustrations include symbols based on seal characters of Chinese pictograms.


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*"Awe-inspiring artwork as powerful as any force of nature."-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

From Caldecott Medalist Ed Young comes a picture book retelling of Aesop's fable The Wind and the Sun .

Once upon the sky, there were three powers--the Wind, the Rain, and the Sun--each claiming to be the mightier than the others. One day, the powers came upon a shepherd girl fast asleep upon a hill, so they made a bet to see who could make her take her cap off. Who will be the strongest of them all?

Rendered in exquisite mixed-media collage, Caldecott Medalist Ed Young's gorgeous and deeply poignant retelling of the well-known Aesop's fable The Wind and the Sun , proves that sometimes gentle persuasion and kindness are the best virtues of all.

Praise for The Weather's Bet :

"Lyrical and profound." -- School Library Journal

"A good classroom readaloud."-- Publishers Weekly

Author Notes

Caldecott Medalist ED YOUNG is the illustrator of more than ninety books for children, seventeen of which he has also written. Born in Tientsin, China, Ed Young grew up in Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. As a young man, he came to the United States to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art. In 1990, his book Lon Po Po was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He has also received two Caldecott Honors, for The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice, and was awarded the Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Mr. Young live in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3--Despite how much humans feel they control the world, Wind, Rain, and Sun will always be the Earth's primary powers. One day, Wind, Rain, and Sun observe a shepherd sleeping on a hill with her sheep. For fun, Wind bets the others that it can make her lose her cap. It tries blasting her with a gale so strong she has to hold on to keep from flying away, but her cap stays on. Next, Rain attempts to soak her hat off, but this is likewise unsuccessful. Finally, Sun emerges from behind the clouds to bathe the Earth in its warm glow, trying its hand at removing the cap. The heat of the sun finally wears the shepherd down, but she knows in her heart who the winner truly is. This retelling of "The Wind and the Sun" is both lyrical and profound, using select, spare language to tell the story. Rhyming phrases are pleasing to the ear, but the complexity of the story's message goes deeper than the text itself. Young's illustrations are striking, composed of paper collage and occasionally shifting orientation to add to their dynamic quality. The text is superimposed expertly upon the images, making them function as one and the same. Additionally, Chinese character representations of Wind, Rain, and Sun appear throughout the book as their powers are mentioned. VERDICT Elementary school classrooms seeking another approach to Earth Day will appreciate the mysterious beauty within the pages of this book.--Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library

Publisher's Weekly Review

Cowan and Caldecott Medalist Young retell a fable about the rain, the wind, and the sun vying to persuade a young shepherdess to doff her red cap. In collages made of torn paper and photographs by Hudack, Young places the shepherdess and sheep against images of water, clouds, and pastures, and the forces are labeled with vermilion Chinese glyphs. Wind tries first: "Blowing angry gusts of air,/ Wind howled and howled/ both far and near." The girl's cut-paper hair tumbles in the force of the gale, but she holds onto her cap. Rain is next; as rain falls, the girl feels the raindrops, begins to dance--but keeps her cap. In a great burst of yellow heat, the sun beats down, bringing green to the Earth and causing the awaited-for response: she "laughed her cap off as she got warm." Large spreads and economical text make this a good classroom readaloud--a parable that leads to a discussion about the advantages of warmth over force. Ages 4--8. (Mar.)

Horn Book Review

"One day a shepherd was fast asleep / upon a hill with her flock of sheep." The three powers who rule the Earth-Rain, Wind, and Sun-bet on which of them can force the shepherd to remove her cap. They begin their contest of strength. Wind blows "angry gusts of air" and Rain tries "to soak, / with pounding water, / her cap and cloak," but their efforts are in vain. Then Sun takes its turn and begins to shine. The shepherd "smiled and began to sweat, and Wind and Rain lost the bet" as she doffs her cap-showing readers that kindness and gentleness prevail. In this retelling of Aesop's fable "The Wind and the Sun," Caldecott Medalist Young uses mixed-texture collages composed of torn magazine paper and (according to the copyright page) photographs by nature photographer John Hudak. Full-bleed double-page spreads invite readers to linger on the panoramic scenes and dive deeply into the details of the illustrations. The language is lyrical, full of rhythm and rhyme, and the text is beautifully integrated into the illustrations (e.g., on the page where Wind "howled and howled," words are situated on the page as if they are being blown by a gust of air). The three powers visually present themselves in the shapes of their Chinese characters-a hidden surprise that will delight readers in the know. A primer on the symbols used in the story is appended. Weileen Wang May/June 2020 p.93(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Three heavenly powers look down upon a shepherd girl and bet which one can knock her cap off.Young's atmospheric, textured artwork conjures the natural forces vying to mess with a mortal's cap in this loose retelling of an old Aesop's fable. Photographs, fabric, and paper (sometimes torn, sometimes cut) cohere in evocative collages that capture both the expansive powers of Wind, Rain, and Sun as well as the young girl's brown skin, cheekbones, eyelashes, and strands of ebony hair. Weather blows, mists, and shines in teeming double-page, full-bleed spreads. Occasional sharp lines and solid color (the red cap serves as a cardinal beacon) give readers sound footing to navigate the complex collages. Distinguishing landmasses, sheep, the girl, and sky from one another sometimes requires squinting, but looking at these challenging compositions feels exhilaratinglike standing, happily drenched, in a swirling storm. Cowan's simple, consistent rhyme provides reassuring scaffolding that keeps readers from blowing away. Upon hearing the pleasing verse "For with the passing morning storm, / She laughed her cap off as she got warm," young people will feel warmth spread in their little souls too. Frontmatter explicates the symbols assigned to Wind, Rain, and Sun, which were created using Chinese pictograms and appear throughout. Awe-inspiring artwork as powerful as any force of nature. (Picture book. 4-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

It's a simple story, this reimagining of the classic Aesop's fable "The Wind and the Sun." It tells how three mighty powers--the Wind, the Rain, and the Sun--come upon a sleeping shepherd girl surrounded by her flock of sheep, and decide to wager which one can make the girl take off her cap. Both the howling wind and the relentless rain fail, but then the sun comes out, and the laughing girl, now warm, takes her cap off. The sun has won, but the girl, contemplating the newly green landscape around her, realizes that it is actually the earth that has won. Cowan's rhyming text is simple and straightforward, a nice counterpoint to Caldecott Medalist Young's often abstract mixed-media collage illustrations that beautifully imagine the form and shapes of the three powers--from dazzling-white, almost spectral images to warm orange backgrounds cast by the sun. In a prefatory note, Young explains that, in troubled times, "our endangered, vulnerable planet must be sustained by respect." This beautiful book honors that imperative.