Five tigers with staring eyes fill the book jacket, front and back, suggesting a larger-than-life story. It's a nighttime fantasy featuring a boy who climbs aboard a boat hanging in the air above a pier and sails off to faraway lands. After a wordless sequence of several pages, the text begins in blank verse and moves into rhymed couplets to recount in spare lines the child's encounter with the cinder-eyed cats and a host of fish and sea creatures that "rise up from the deep" and join a frenzied night of dancing in the air above the sand. Double-page paintings of the tropical island terrain deepen as the sunny afternoon sky and sea move through twilight and into the dark of night. The scheme of sailing off into the night and a dreamlike encounter with wild animals are certainly nothing new, but the energy and surrealism provide a well-paced adventure with intriguing moments. The boy builds a large sand fish on the beach; as he dozes against its side, its eye begins to open. The celebration of night is a cheerful melee containing visual images?a circle of dancing tigers and the tigers mounted on one another's backs?familiar from well-known stories. As the morning sun calls the fish back to the sea, it's all a bit of a well-woven pastiche, sometimes Disneyish in the drawing but often bold and rich. A bedtime piece with flair.?Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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