cover image The Fisherwoman

The Fisherwoman

Anne Carter. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09872-8

Maud is a scavenger who lives alone by the sea, always wishing she could have a glimpse of the ``rich and famous people who lived behind the great gates of the mansion above the village.'' One day her scavenging turns up a vase that has magical powers, and Maud gets her wish. She soon realizes, however, that there is an ugly side to the beautiful people's lives. The disenchanted fisherwoman runs home, returns to her old pursuits and drops the vase into the sea. Brierley's impressionistic illustrations are executed with a gentle hand: white-washed buildings, a pale blue sea and shadowy outlines of characters other than Maud. The perspective changes as often as the tide, from high in the clouds to sea level, and--though it deals with themes not often found in picture books--the spare narrative is told in evocative, poetic language. Although Carter's message is worthwhile, readers may believe that her sophisticated narrative leaves too many unanswered questions. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)