cover image Erin's Voyage

Erin's Voyage

John Frank. Simon & Schuster, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-671-79585-6

When Erin finds an antique doll in her grandfather's attic, Grandpa tells her that it came from a ship lost at sea many years before, ``when your great-great-grandmother was your age.'' That night, wakened by the wind, Erin takes a magical boat journey into the open sea and returns the doll to its rightful owner. With his rich, arresting imagery (``The current began to gather speed, braiding the water into swirling strands''), Frank (Odds 'n' Ends Alvy) has wrought a tale textured with mystery and wonder yet anchored in simplicity. Fluid language carefully renders the many moods of the sea and wind, imbuing both with an otherworldly quality. Schutzer's (One Million Fish... More or Less) forceful, energetic oil paintings capture the moonlight sail, excitement salted with a touch of fear, the ghost ship looming above the waves. Loose brush strokes gently illuminate the love between Erin and her grandfather, with haloes of light circling their faces; later, scenes of the wind whipping the waves show the artist's talent for conveying drama and adventure. Ages 4-6. (Aug.)