cover image The Sea-Breeze Hotel

The Sea-Breeze Hotel

Marcia Vaughan, Patricia Mullins. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-020488-4

The proprietors of the Sea-Breeze Hotel--euphemistically named for the relentless winds that drive vacationers away--find fortune in adversity when they begin making kites from old scraps and discover that, as a kite-flying hotel, the establishment has no trouble attracting guests. Vaughan's text is straightforward, if a bit predictable, and in places the rhythms of her prose adroitly suggest the energy of a kite in flight. But it is Mullins's illustrations--collages combined with simple, sketchy pencil lines--that make the work come alive. Her materials include paper, feathers and bits of cloth and string, arranged to form exquisite patterns and convey almost palpable texture and dimension. And through her progressive addition of color, the artwork deftly mirrors the story's growing mood of celebration. Muted natural tones gradually yield to the exuberant hues--fire-engine scarlets, deep magentas, sunny yellows, and lush blues and greens--of the ever-increasing fleet of made-to-order kites. Ages 3-7. (May)