cover image Jack's Fantastic Voyage

Jack's Fantastic Voyage

Michael Foreman. Harcourt Children's Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-239496-7

Foreman's fluid watercolors lend themselves ably to this dreamy tale of a boy and his yarn-spinning grandfather. The old man is an artistic soul who has covered every square inch of his seaside home's interior with images of the deep. Each night at bedtime he paints equally graphic stories for Jack, regaling him with tales of his nautical adventures. But Jack's friends say the stories are humbug, that the old man is bonkers and has never been aboard a ship in his life. Jack's doubts are laid to rest one stormy night when his grandfather begins to spin a tale--and the house magically sets sail with the two of them aboard. Although their voyage isn't quite as ``fantastic'' as the title promises (it is in fact a bit on the pedestrian side--no pirates, no shipwrecks, just sealife sightings and an encounter with the ships from his grandfather's paintings), there are still abundant thrills for bedtime reading and listening. Any narrative shortcomings are amply compensated for by the languid watercolors, rendered in resplendent shades of aquamarine, deep blue and lavender. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)