cover image Up North at the Cabin

Up North at the Cabin

Marsha Wilson Chall. HarperCollins, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09732-5

With evocative prose, Chall conjures up in her debut book the magic of idyllic childhood summers. Her creative use of language brings to life local flora and fauna as viewed through the eyes of a sensitive, enthusiastic city girl--a moose stands ``like a house on stilts,'' cabins are built with logs like ``shiny pretzels.'' In unaffected vignettes (the book has no real story line) the young vacationer baits her fishing hook with peanut butter sandwiches, canoes ``through the wilderness'' and embraces the thrill of water skiing. Johnson's ( The Frog Prince , Continued ; The Salamander Room ) textured oil paintings, daubed with bold brushstrokes, produce a breadth of vision that evokes universal experience. The artwork's smudged effect suggests the haziness of memory in conjunction with sun-dappled days and atmospherically conveys family quiet times, the mysteries deep within cool woods and the invigoration of outdoor sports. This gratifying warm-weather book will surely be savored again when ``frosted windows cloud the sun.'' Ages 5-up. (May)