A little girl wants to be as dynamic as the wind, and we see the fun things to know about wind.
A young girl notices how the wind zooms down hillsides, races through streets, and scatters seeds. It helps birds, butterflies and baby spiders soar. It snaps sheets and flags, drives rain and sailboats and more. "I want to play like a windy day." she thinks. Asch's bright illustrations mix depth and two dimensional objects in a way some may find surreal. He successfully makes the wind seem like a mischievous little girl, entertaining and benevolent.
As they wrestle with grade school social conflicts and share a fantasy land, ten year old Jess learns from Leslie's bright character and values, until tragedy teaches him to adopt and live by those values.
Jess trained to be the fastest runner in 5th grade, but when he defended Leslie's right to run against the boys there was an unexpected result. She beat everyone. Jess saw a beauty in her gait, and she saw justice in him. As companions they deal with difficult school mates and escape to their imaginary forest kingdom of Terabithia. Jess gradually sees an approach to life brightly different from anything he had imagined. In a heart wrenching turn of events, Jess realizes what Leslie had shown him was worth sharing with those most worthy of it.
Distorting a classic, Red Hen's lazy housemates do not help make bread or cake, never know she is nearly eaten by a fox, and then for no good reason start to help.
The Little Red Hen leaves home with her cake because her housemates were too lazy to help with it, but wanted to eat it. Later, a fox spots her and bags her, but using her handy scissors she escapes. On her return her housemates suddenly want to help out, even though they had no awareness of her danger. This causeless change in behavior undermines the purpose of the fable, doing little for a child's developing grasp of moral cause-&-effect. The art work is crude, and crudely printed.