cover image Robinson


Peter Sís. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-545-73166-9

Sís’s story, based on a childhood incident, opens at a school’s costume party. The narrator, Peter, comes dressed as Robinson Crusoe, in fur garments carefully sewn by his mother. His friends, dressed as pirates, jeer him. Shaken, Peter retreats to his bedroom, where subsequent spreads follow his dream journey to Crusoe’s island, a place filled with strange trees, beautiful flowers, and multicolored birds—“Is there no one here but me?” he wonders. Washes of amethyst, rosy pink, indigo, and emerald evoke the scents and sounds of the strange land. An exquisite aerial view shows the boy in a dozen places at once, fishing, farming, and guiding baby sea tortoises into the water; in another, he feasts with animals at a dinner table. Dream morphs into reality as the arrival of pirates turns into a visit from Peter’s friends, with an apology. Using the boy to reenact Crusoe’s story lovingly underscores the way books allow readers to see themselves in what they read, and to find adventure and solace there. Sís further reflects on his memories in a candid afterword, accompanied by a priceless childhood photo of him dressed as Crusoe. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)