The first edition of this book I found, at a flea market, was a French translation, and it took me a while to realize it was originally written in English, because it is set in Denmark. The author was exiled, or stranded, in New Mexico during the war, and later in Santa Barbara, and wrote and illustrated the story out of longing for the cold, northern, wind-swept island of Fanoe where he had spent childhood summers.
The story is charming but it was the illustrations that caught my eye and imagination. The forbidding climate is counteracted by the incredible snugness of the houses, and the romance of two children finding ‘sea gold’, or amber, to complete a birthday necklace for their beautiful, elaborately costumed mother. The children have been told by the island’s doll-maker that the amber appears because the island is nothing but a sand-bank anchored in an ancient forest.
Publishers: a worthy book to reprint…
Source: Hedvig Collin, Wind Island (New York: The Viking Press, 1945); French edition, L’Ile du Vent, trans. Elisabeth Julia (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1950)