With beautiful illustrations, Blowin’ in the Wind brings the famous 1963 Bob Dylan song down to a child’s level. According to Dylan, the answers to our hopes and dreams are blowing in the wind. The answer floats from person to person in order to be discovered and treasured.
Illustrator Jon J Muth uses two particular objects to illustrate this concept: a large red ball and a paper airplane. The ball is passed from child to child as the pages progress. Sometimes we see the red ball as a red balloon that is trying to be free to float in the wind, but is tied down to some object that holds it back. The paper airplane floats along on every page, just out of the reach of the children. The children in the book, while beautifully illustrated, are seen several times floating in the water on a red boat, implying that we’re all just floating through life with no real direction but that the answer to our direction is just “blowin’ in the wind.”
I was troubled by a few of the images and implications in this book. The idea that the answers to life’s questions are just out there floating along in the breeze, just out of our reach, is not something that I really want my children taking in as truth. This implies that only some people are lucky enough to find these answers and that only a few will be able to reach these dreams and goals. In reality, these answers need to be provided by the parents and directly handed to the children with intention, not by chance. The very last page of the book shows several children running after a white dove and the dove is just out of their reach. To me, this illustrates to the children who read this book that their hopes and dreams, the things they long for, will be something they will always chase after but will always be just out of their reach.
Another particular page that bothered me was the one with the line from the song, “…how many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?” The illustration for this line in the song is a large brick wall with several people standing along the wall, like they are trapped behind the wall. All of the people are African American. While I understand that this line of the song initially spoke of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, I believe that today there can be a larger interpretation.
Jon J. Muth states (at the end of the book) that “the beauty of this song is that, while Dylan wrote it at a seminal moment, its sentiment is universal and timeless.” There are many people who are “bound” by something (abuse victims, children in neglect cases, economic status, religious persecution, and racial discrimination) and to continue to think and imply that the line of this song is only applicable to those of color is doing a disservice to the children that are trying to be reached with this book.
The illustrations that Muth did for Blowin’ in the Wind are truly beautiful and inspiring in and of themselves. However, I felt that there were many things lacking in this book that would truly modernize the meaning of the song for today’s children.
Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Andrea Burnett Public Relations. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.