cover image Greyling


Jane Yolen. Philomel Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22262-7

Based on Scottish stories about the selchies--seals who take on human form--Yolen's tale is as lilting and deep as the sea itself. A fisherman and his wife are overjoyed when the stray seal pup that the fisherman brings home turns into a baby with ``great grey eyes and silvery grey hair.'' They raise the selchie as their own until ``one wind-wailing morning'' when, to prevent his father from drowning, Greyling dives from the cliff and becomes a seal again, to return only once a year This fable about a child who is transfomed as he grows up yet still returns home ``to tell his parents tales of the lands that lie far beyond the waters,'' is a timeless one. Like the best fairy tales, Yolen's narrative is economical yet filled with haunting images, movingly complemented by Ray's ( The Banshee ) striking acrylic paintings of Scotland's sturdy country folk and grey, roiling sea. Age 3-8. (May)