cover image Faraway Things

Faraway Things

Dave Eggers, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-49219-5

When pale-skinned Lucian brings home a magnificent cutlass he’s found on the beach, his mother has doubts. “Is it a faraway thing?” she asks, using his father’s phrase for treasures washed up on the beach. “Yup,” he assures her. When he hangs it on his wall, in their home below a defunct lighthouse, he dreams of his father. The next day, the cutlass’s owner appears by rowboat—a captain whose galleon is stuck on a sandbar. A bald, brown-skinned man in modern-looking spectacles, he approaches Lucian with an offer: “If you return the cutlass, I’ll let you choose whatever object you like from the treasures I’ve accumulated.” The moment that Lucian enters the room is tense. “Choose wisely,” the captain says, and readers watch as the child relinquishes his prize for a quieter treasure in a step out of childhood and into responsibility. Sweeping multimedia art by Murphy (Together We Grow) gives the galleon, its crew, and the ocean grandeur. The story raises more questions than it answers—about the boy’s father and the nonworking lighthouse—but Eggers (We Became Jaguars) tells his swashbuckling yarn with screenplay-like polish that feels just as expansive as Murphy’s art. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June) [/em]