Boy of the Deeps

Ian Wallace, Author, Aan Wallace, Author, DK Publishing, Author DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7894-2569-0
Wallace (Chin Chiang and the Dragons Dance) takes his inspiration from his grandfathers experience in the coal mines for this suspenseful picture book set in Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. On Jamess first day working alongside his miner father, his mother cautions him to take care, since the deeps is dangerous. A cage-like elevator drops down 1000 feet through darkness that was blacker than a ravens eye, taking the miners far below the Atlantic. Wallaces taut yet descriptive narrative appeals to the senses as it draws readers into this underground setting, where water drips down from the low ceiling and James listens to the layers of rock shifting and creaking. At lunchtime, along with his bread and cod, the boy finds a small present from his mother: three wild daisies, a striking contrast to the mines bleakness. But suddenly, the mines ceiling collapses on top of James and his father, who diligently work away at the rocks until they cut a narrow tunnel to safety. Wallace expertly manipulates light and shadow in his effectively textured, acrylic-on-canvas paintings, which offer a lifelike depiction of this timeless subterranean world. Ages 8-11. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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