Whirl is a wordless picture book that follows the journey of a maple seed as it floats and spins through the air and down to the ground. The story by Deborah Kerbel and illustrations by Josée Bisaillon celebrates the simple everyday joys that both humans and animals experience while living in and near nature. The vibrant picture book follows the maple seed as it floats over and into everyday activities. The seed is utilized throughout the story by both children and animals in a variety of scenes. Young children will enjoy piecing together the maple seed’s journey and purpose on each illustrated page.
The maple seed’s journey begins on the title page of the book which shows the seed leaving the maple tree’s branches to spin through the air. The spinning seed floats over many activities, including gardening, dog walking, cycling, skateboarding, and hiking. The only words in the book can be found on the last page, a page full of fascinating maple seed facts. Young readers will enjoy learning many interesting facts, including that only dry maples seeds can take flight singly and not in green pairs. Through the book’s pages, the maple seed is used in children’s creative play as well as in their art. When birds and animals get a hold of the maple seed, readers will see how the seed travels from place to place, eventually becoming a new maple tree.
Whirl is an enjoyable story full of joy and wonder that both children and adults will be able to relate to. The detailed illustrations of the natural world on each page will provide many opportunities for discussion. Readers will be able to make connections and discuss our relationship to nature and its role in everyday life. Young readers, who can not yet read, will also be able to enjoy the book on their own. The wondrous journey taken by the maple seed in Whirl evokes a sense of peace and tranquility. The story also summons a sense of hope as the seed touches the lives of humans, birds, and animals to then grow from the earth’s soil as a new tree.
Vasso Tassiopoulos is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia and the Master of Teaching program at OISE. She is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District School Board.