cover image Blue Claws

Blue Claws

Walter Lynn Krudop. Atheneum Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31787-3

This evocative mood piece about a day at the water's edge calls to mind Mark Shasha's Night of the Moonjellies. In the spare, unadorned text, the nameless narrator recounts the trepidation he feels staying alone at his Grandfather's house for the first time--``Sometimes Grandpa was hard to be with.'' But by nightfall, the old man and the boy have been brought wordlessly closer after a day of fishing for crabs from the pier. Although very little happens in the subdued, dreamy narrative, first-time author Krudop's keen eye for detail brings to life the sights, smells and sounds of the bay: the ``dead fish with their milky eyes'' at the bait shop, the thrill of the first catch, the slanting ``bishop's rain'' that greets the pair on their return home. Krudop's impressionistic illustrations portray a particular tenderness--an intimacy and affection occasionally missing from the text. In muted blues, greens and sepias that give the artwork a pleasingly antique appearance, the painter renders the life of the bay in sweeping full-page (some full-spread) oils. As if suspended in amber, scenes from the fondly remembered day quietly capture a very special relationship. Ages 6-8. (Mar.)