cover image Patchwork Island

Patchwork Island

Karla Kuskin. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021242-1

``A clever mother stitched the colors up'' to form the baby's patchwork playground/quilt featured in this gentle picture book. Kuskin's ( Paul and City Dog , both reviewed in Children's Forecasts, Mar. 28) brief, lilting text describes the colors and significance of the fabric squares as they are shown being pieced together: ``The green for leaves and fields''; ``Blue sea, blue sky too.'' The soothing tone here works well as a bedtime selection. Mathers's ( Sophie and Lou ) intensely hued paintings capture the serenity and kindness of the mother's caring actions, and also bring the island landscape of the quilt to life. Fish, seagulls and a red sailboat help set a maritime scene for both the baby and for readers. The artist's subtle humor, evident in a swatch of material starring jump-roping, yo-yo-wielding and fiddle-playing lobsters, adds panache. In a sizable author's note, Kuskin describes Canada's Prince Edward Island, where her story is set, in vivid and intimate detail. Ages 3-7. (May)