Duncan's Way

Ian Wallace, Author, Ian Wallace, Illustrator DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7894-2679-6
Wallace's (Boy of the Deeps) finely detailed, lifelike watercolor paintings convey the stark, iceberg-filled seascape of the Newfoundland coast as well as the plaintive tone of this affecting story. Duncan's father can no longer fish since the cod disappeared from the ocean; the man now spends his days baking and listlessly watching TV. Desperate to get his father ""back to the sea"" and prevent his family from moving away from his birthplace, 11-year-old Duncan pays a visit to Mr. Marshall, a wise friend and retired fisherman. As the two watch the man's model trains traverse a miniature landscape that duplicates their coastal town, Mr. Marshall subtly guides Duncan's thoughts until the boy verbalizes a possible solution, and the tale ends on a note of hope. The narrative may be occasionally wordy, but there is nothing extraneous in Wallace's evocative artwork. A shirt hanging on a clothesline in the foreground frames an image of Duncan and his father, talking intently on the lawn; a peek through a window into the family's simple home, which is flanked by an enormous, barren boulder and a fence in need of painting, shows Duncan's mother giving him a reassuring hug. Wallace creates some memorable portraits within this larger picture of a vanishing way of life. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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