cover image My Life with the Wave

My Life with the Wave

Octavio Paz, Catherine Cowan. HarperCollins, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12660-5

A boy creates his own endless summer when he brings home a wave from the family's beach vacation in this splashy fantasy based on a story by Nobel laureate Paz. The wave adores her new surroundings, spraying foam as she rushes through the household, floating with the boy and rocking him to sleep. But nature takes its course as the wave's moods turn out to be as ""changeable as the tide."" Her wild and unpredictable behavior spells the end of the wave's landlocked days, and as soon as winter weather freezes her solid, ""a beautiful statue of ice,"" the distressed family returns her to the ocean where she belongs. Cowan's fluid adaptation is suffused with emotion. Within the framework of a fantastic tale, she successfully introduces the larger idea of humans' age-old struggle to find a balance between taming nature and coexisting with it. Any child who has caught a lightning bug or befriended a stray puppy will identify with the protagonist here. Buehner's (The Adventures of Taxi Dog) forceful oil-and-acrylic paintings offer views from above and below the action, conveying the blue-green wave's power and movement. And as lagniappe, a tiny surfing mouse, Scottie dog, cat, sea horse and other creatures are hidden throughout the artwork. Paired with the expert text, Buehner's larger-than-life depictions of the free-spirited wave sweep readers away to their own imaginary shores. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)