cover image The Gift

The Gift

John Prater. Viking Children's Books, $9.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-670-80952-3

An enormous, mysterious package arrives for a boy and a girl, who eagerly open it. Disappointed to find two sensible chairs, the children turn to the box that held the chairs and climb in. The box lifts off the ground, and what follows is a fanciful flight out the door, across highways and train tracks, to the bottom of the ocean (where they find treasure and a playful whale), through a jungle and home to tea. The entire adventure takes place wordlessly, with close to 100 frames detailing the trip in warm watercolors. The world that greets these children is a friendly one, where a flying box is welcomed with a smile and a wave, and a near-disaster at a waterfall is averted by a quick-thinking sister. Back at home, the box is forgotten and set out by the trash; one sees it and hopes that, somehow, there will be more adventures to come. (3-8)