cover image Island Boy

Island Boy

Barbara Cooney. Viking Children's Books, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81749-8

Matthias is the youngest son in a family of 12 children who live with their parents on Tibbetts Island, Maine, in the days before the ``rusticators'' built fancy homes on its shores. When he is old enough to leave home, Matthias sails around the world, but always knows where his heart lies. One day, he is the only Tibbetts on the island, until he marries Hannah, who bears three daughtersthe youngest is Annie. The little family stays on the island; time passes and only Annie and her own young son Matthias live with her father. When old Matthias attempts to make a trip to the mainland during a storm, his dinghy is swamped and he dies. As encompassing as the portrait of a life depicted in the award-winning Miss Rumphius , Cooney's latest work is an ode to simple acts of daily living. The Maine coast is etched in the blues and greens of sky and water, with wide, sweeping seascapes that contrast with the velvety, close-up interiors. Not only one family's tale, this is also a cherishable glimpse of a bygone time. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)