cover image Ocean's Child

Ocean's Child

Christine Ford, Trish Holland, , illus. by David Diaz. . Random/Golden, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84752-3

This simple but melodic bedtime tale gains heft from an intriguing setting—the Beaufort seacoast of Alaska—and from transcendent illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Diaz (Smoky Night ). On each spread, an expectant mother and a small child say goodnight to an ocean animal they spot while canoeing along the coast: “Furry babies curl into a big bear ball/ On the ice as it drifts through the dark./ To Ocean's children we say good night./ Good night, little polar bears, good night.” Each rhyme offers a tidbit of the creature's life: puffins “nest in the cliff” and a beluga whale “naps on Mother's back.” Diaz's art enlarges this tale with a stylized, almost mythic quality. Stars are as ornate as snowflakes and waves are elegant curlicues in a saturated ocean of blue, green and purple. Animals are bathed in a golden glow and are even translucent at times. The narrator concludes with a tender good-night to her sleeping unborn baby and older child who are “child[ren] of Ocean as well,/ Forever a part of me.” Every page exudes a soothing sense of magic. Ages 2–5. (May)