by Katherine L. Holmes
Interview with Ms. Holmes is HERE!
From Back Cover: Halloween night, the wayward Sadie leads her friends past cardboard cut-outs of the painter Mistral and a lady at the leaf-covered house on Windward Road. A wall mural transports them to a Halloween party on a star where their costumes become real.
As Fortuneteller, Sadie only has to look in her crystal ball to help the others with their transformations. Her friend Candy is the Homecoming Queen and her brother has turned into a zebra. The neighbor boy has become George Washington and his brother is a musician in the star band.
he House in Windward Leaves is about a strange house down the road, covered in leaves. It is abandoned, or so the neighborhood thought. A mysterious man has been painting in the house, at least that is what everyone assumes from the man’s continual purchases of paint. No one is willing to ask him or go to the house . . . until Halloween arrives. Dressed in the costumes each child agonized over, they all end up at the end of the road where the house covered in leaves is located. They find a cardboard likeness of the man in front of a treat bowl. There is also a cat intertwining around the cardboard man. The cat slips into the house and the children follow by opening the unlocked front door. It is as if the cat went in ahead to announce the children’s arrival. One gets the idea the man, known as Mistral, was expecting each of these kids.
Once inside the children see the house, not painted in a traditional sense, but painted with scenes. The living room was full of furniture, but not one piece was anything more than paint on a wall. The cat plays with the zebra tail of Tim’s costume, unraveling yarn, and then runs down a hallway painted on the wall. Tim’s runs after the cat, Sadie runs after Tim, and soon everyone has crossed over into a new world. On this star, this other world, created by Mistral, the children take on the persona of their Halloween costume.
Sadie, a girl who feels more like a loner when around her friends, become an enchanter (fortune-teller), with a crystal ball that can tell the future of these new characters. She is now one of the most important people on this star. Everyone wants her attention. Candy, who had dressed like a homecoming queen for Halloween, becomes the star’s Queen. Tim, who loves to run, has turned into a real zebra, Ben, a trumpet player in his real life, becomes a shy trumpeter, Roger, who can speak well in public, becomes George Washington, and Gretchen becomes a priest.
While in this other world, each of the children have adventures. Roger’s George Washington was hilarious. In a boat, sailing in the sky, George is trying to cross the Delaware River; after being urged to return to “shore” George tosses all the black tea bags into the one river on the star, crying about the British coming. He has everyone else worried about what they will drink, now that all the tea is gone.
The House in Windward Leaves has several scenes like the George Washington scenes. Ms. Holmes uses humor very effectively in her well-written tome. She had won The Loft’s Children’s Literature Prize with The House in Windward Leaves when it was only a short story. Each character has an engagingly distinct voice The star Mistral throws his Halloween party upon can be easily envisioned because of the descriptive language used in each scene.
The House in Windward Leaves is Ms. Holmes’ debut in children’s literature. She has begun her writing career on a high note, but I think she is capable of topping even herself. She may have won a short story contest with a shorter version of The House in Windward Leaves, but the novel will have her an award-winning author” by year’s end.
To read Ms. Holmes interview from yesterday, click HERE!
by Katherine L. Holmes website blog FB Couchgrass Books (SP) Released on July 15, 2011 ISBN: 978-0-61550717-0 164 Pages Ages 8 and up Copyright © 2011 by Katherine L. Holmes, used with permission