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New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book 2008
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 62.
- Review Date: 2008-05-05
- Reviewer: Staff
Lee's (The Zoo) wordless two-color picture book will charm even readers who have never seen the postwar classics her work explicitly recalls. In it, a mostly solitary girl, conjured with a few broad charcoal strokes, encounters the ocean, all watery splashes and splatters of blue. Lee's spreads of the beach are drawn and painted in black, white and gray on matte pages; the waves are sloshed on with aqua. Dueling textures—dry charcoal, wet paint strokes—mirror the silent conversation between the girl and the waves. The girl, hanging back at first, grows bolder, taunts an enormous wave, disappears under a burst of salt water, emerges drenched, and discovers the gifts the wave leaves behind. Her stick-straight hair beguiles; her expressions morph from suspicion to resolve to joy. The ocean is alive, too, with its own range of feelings; tranquil ripples, flamenco-like explosions of spray, spatters of foam. The book's oblong shape gives Lee a dramatic expanse of beach to work with, almost like a stage; five seagulls form a Greek chorus, advancing and retreating together with the girl. A book whose rewards multiply with rereading. All ages. (June)