cover image The Tale I Told Sasha

The Tale I Told Sasha

Nancy Willard, David Christiana. Little Brown and Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-94115-0

Willards (A Starlit Somersault Downhill) latest relies on the impressionistic beauty of her writing, capturing readers attention with her seductive rhythms and imagery. A girls yellow ball leads her on a chase through an otherworldly place not quite outside the borders of her own house, a place that may or may not represent the imagination. Over the Bridge of Butterflies,/ across the Field of Lesser Beasts she follows it, meeting such folk as the King of Keys and stumbling on a cache of things that have disappeared over time from her homea needle, a playing card, puzzle pieces gone for good,/ things worn or wished on, old or lost,/ roses astonished by the frost,/ the snails and numbers, stars and sheep/ my mother counts to fall asleep. Christianas (White Nineteens) fey, dreamy watercolors of a surreal landscape match the poems fantastical mood while preserving its ambiguities. Like the half-light of things remembered or imagined, strange beings lurk quietly in his illustrationsa coiled creature that looks part dragon, part snake; a clock with a human face, hands folded gently at rest; an elf tucked in the girls mothers pocket. Bright fields of color bleed into dark clouds and dim corners; shapes blend and flow into one another. Given the elusive story line and its cryptic moments, this book may not attract a wide audience, but those who enjoy language for its own sake will savor it. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)