cover image An Adventure at Sea

An Adventure at Sea

Nicholas Heller. Greenwillow Books, $12.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07846-1

In this ebullient picture book, Heller ( Happy Birthday, Moe Dog , The Monster in the Cave ) once again celebrates the role of fantasy in everyday lives, with colors that sparkle and shine. Harold seeks adventure on the high seas, despite the skepticism of his brother and sister (``Set sail?'' Penelope scoffs. ``Why, that's just an old cardboard box.'') With a broom for a mast and his reluctant siblings for crew, he takes an imaginary voyage that grows ever more thrilling as they encounter a sea monster, a treasure ship and a shark before Father summons the sailors to supper. Heller's text perfectly captures the energy and extravagance imaginative children bring to their play. He creates lively visual humor by pairing features of the imagined voyage with the real-life elements that inspired them: opposite a ``terrifying creature of the deep'' is a comically benign dog. Just as Harold's siblings eventually succumb whole-heartedly to the game, even literal-minded readers will find this high-spirited romp contagious. Ages 4-up. (August)