cover image Fishing for a Dream: Ocean Lullabies and Night Verses

Fishing for a Dream: Ocean Lullabies and Night Verses

Kate Kiesler. Clarion Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-94149-2

Kiesler's (The Great Frog Race) dreamy acrylic paintings accompany an eclectic collection of soothing poems about the sea. In addition to traditional lullabies from Hawaii, Greece, Ireland and France, Kiesler includes some classic fare: Eugene Fields's ""Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,"" Tennyson's ""Sweet and Low"" and Robert Louis Stevenson's ""My Bed Is a Boat."" Especially charming 20th-century additions feature Eve Merriam's onomatopoeic ""Lullaby"" (""Sh sh what do you wish"") and Dahlov Ipcar's delicate ""Fishes' Evening Song."" The layouts are varied, rhythmically and unobtrusively, while each idyllic painting exudes the evanescent wonder of a nighttime sea. A full-page painting of a mother and child against a seascape of peach-colored clouds is juxtaposed with the spot art of the ""herrins in the bay"" from the Scottish ""Hush Song."" In a fantastic vein, a full-spread painting offers a literal interpretation of Merriam's lines about a magical fish that ""swims out from the window and down to the river""; Kiesler adds a parent and baby watching from the window, and she spangles the fish with golden stars. Both art and text emphasize the enchantment of misty dreams and the lullaby sound of the ""silvery waves [that] rock the fishes to sleep"" (Jean Jaszi). Despite the disparate cultures and centuries from which the poems have been culled, each reverberates with comfort and love. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)