Patricia MacLachlan, Emily MacLachlan, , illus. by Kate Schneider. . HarperCollins/Cotler, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-029798-5

This elegantly conceived picture book explores an artist's process through the eyes of a boy living year-round on an island that attracts painters in the summers. "I paint all winter long. And I wait," the boy narrator begins. Schneider, in her children's book debut, shows a barren seascape on the left and an inset of the boy at his easel on the right. From the outset, the boy admits his challenge: "As hard as I try, I cannot paint the wind." As the painters return, the mother-and-daughter author team eloquently describes their various styles through the eyes of the perceptive budding painter ("The painter of flowers wakes at dawn when the island light first comes"), and Schneider adjusts her brushstrokes to reflect the works the narrator describes. The flower painter dabs with impressionistic strokes, more interested in layering color than in the details. "The painter of faces is late to wake," and Schneider renders these paintings in studied strokes more akin to Delacroix or Rembrandt. The boy also understands the way that painter and painting become one: "When the landscape painter paints the moon he forgets who he is, he forgets his wife and children." With the landscape painter, the boy learns at last to paint the wind. As an added plus, Schneider shows the boy's painting, which hangs alongside all of the other artists' work in a showing at summer's end. This thoughtful volume conveys a respect for and understanding of the many ways the creative process manifests itself, and makes art seem accessible for children of all ages. Ages 4-8. (May)