cover image The Boy Who Lived with the Seals

The Boy Who Lived with the Seals

Rafe Martin. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.99 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22413-3

In this bittersweet story developed from a Chinook legend, an Indian boy wanders off from his parents as they are camped along a riverbank--``The whole tribe began searching. But there were no traces of the boy.'' The lad dwells among seals for a time; indeed he becomes one of them, for ``he wouldn't talk, but only grunted and barked like a seal.'' Brought back to his people, he gradually resumes his human traits, and begins to carve canoes, paddles and weapons for his people, all adorned with fantastical ``designs of the sea and the sea's creatures.'' But the youth cannot escape the water's pull: he returns to his marine existence, each year leaving a beautiful canoe for his grieving parents. This second collaboration by the creators of The Rough-Face Girl exhibits many of that work's notable characteristics. Once again Shannon's dark, romantic paintings are dramatically stylized; many of his individual images display a similarly haunting quality. Martin's retelling employs lyrical language while carefully retaining a clarity appropriate for the intended audience. Another potent Native American offering from a gifted pair. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)