cover image A QUIET PLACE


Douglas Wood, , illus. by Dan Andreasen. . S&S, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-81511-9

Wood (Old Turtle) joins serene settings and dreams of adventure for a vivid romp through a child's imagination. Readers will relate to the ruddy-cheeked, blond city-dweller, who—with hands clamped tightly over his ears—yearns for respite from "whistles shrieking and/ grown-ups talking and/ engines roaring and/ .../ grown-ups talking...." In prose saturated with simile and metaphor, Wood suggests numerous subdued spots for solitude—from ponds and deserts to caverns and museums—and then interjects the boy's fantasies into the mix. "You could look in the desert,/ where Old Man Saguaro reaches for the sky,/ and far-off thunderheads bloom/ like sky-flowers over the mesas./ .../ And you can be a Pony Express rider/ galloping through the Old West." That fantasy can loom larger than life is reflected in the layout of each spread: a small painting of the boy in his quiet place faces a full-page rendering of his daydream. For example, readers glimpse the boy leaving footprints on a beach; opposite, he's a flag-planting conquistador on a sandy shore. Andreasen (The Stars that Shine) laces his realistic oil paintings with a touch of otherworldliness. In muted hues and soft edges, the artist conveys far-ranging settings—the boy, who seems at home in a Rockwellian yesteryear, envisions himself also as prehistoric caveman, swashbuckling treasure-finder, spaceman, etc. These scenarios will hold children rapt until the concluding thought—perhaps a bit lofty for the very young—that people hold within themselves "the very best quiet place of all." Ages 3-7. (Apr.)