From the brilliant blue endpapers and lushly painted artwork to the lyrical words of the text, this book radiates the calmness of a summer day spent in a canoe. At first, the action seems slight-a man paddles around a lake-but as the words and pictures flow, the surrounding wildlife begins to reveal itself. Birds and insects skim the water, sunfish hover, and a pike shoots along, stopping all of the underwater action. Mallards swim by, foxes and raccoons come to the shoreline to drink, and a deer signals her fawn to come away. One of the qualities that moves this book beyond the ordinary nature description is the human figure, the observer, who sits with his paddle raised taking it all in. It is his thoughts that readers hear, and the rhythm of his language fluctuates as the scenes change. In the illustrations, the perspective is altered, looking from above, from a distance, or even under the water. Sometimes viewers see the man in the canoe, but at other times they seem to be looking through his eyes. The book is unified by glorious swathes of blue and green, and most of the paintings spread across double pages with bands of complementary colors running along the sides, both confining the pictures and adding a light touch. Full of sunlight and clear water, this book is for winter dreaming and summer doing.
Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.