cover image Kinderdike


Leonard Everett Fisher, Leonard Everett Fischer. MacMillan Publishing Company, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-735365-5

Exceptionally powerful illustrations honor the Dutch hamlet of Kinderdike, which, according to legend, was named after a baby who was found alive and well on a dike, having survived a fearful storm that caused enormous damage. The rhyming text is vacuous and the diction can be murky (``Here villagers fished in the summer parch. / Here they skated from December to March''), but the boldly colored acrylic paintings conjure up emotion and texture, adding real depth to the history of the town and its dike. With a more dynamic style than in many of his previous books ( Little's Frog's Song ; Jason and the Golden Fleece ), Fisher creates breathtaking views of canals and dikes, stunning for their simple graphics and dextrous use of light. Windmills spread their sails against a sky of constantly changing colors. Sumptuous hues convey fields of spring flowers, traditional clogs and clothing, small bridges over ``criss-crossed canals'' and, in one splendid painting, a rush of ice skaters, scarves streaming in the wind. The emotional landscape turns gray as the chaos of the storm whirls in, and shadows predominate until life is renewed once more, an affirmation underscored by a return to the triumphantly sunny palette. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)