cover image Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus

Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus

Peter Sis. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-679-80628-8

Portraying Columbus from his boyhood to his first landing in the Americas, Sis's ( Waving ; Alphabet Soup ) account is straightforward but somewhat flat. Though his minimal text often reads like a rushed summary, his artwork is extraordinary. With their rich, earthy hues, fine cross-hatching and, in many instances, the semblance of parchment or aged oils, these illustrations recall the maps, charts and paintings of Columbus's own era. Sis is especially adept at evoking the life of the mind and suggesting bridges between reality and imagination. In one particularly striking scene, the child Columbus, charged with weaving a bolt of cloth, imagines a world where the loom is his ship and the star-studded cloth his sail; in another, the monsters of the deep are depicted as they might be envisioned by the fearful men sailing west for the first time. Ages 5-10. (Aug.)