cover image Teacup


Rebecca Young, illus. by Matt Ottley. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2777-4

Ottley’s (Parachute) ravishing paintings of ocean and sky distinguish this story, Australian writer Young’s first for the U.S. market. Young opens with a jolt—“Once there was a boy who had to leave his home... and find another—but Ottley’s first spread softens the blow. The boy stands on a wave-washed beach beside a wooden boat, apprehensive, yet ready for adventure. His few possessions include a teacup, which holds “some earth from where he used to play,” and his journey alternates between terror and serenity. One spread shows his boat riding up the face of a massive wave (“the boy held tightly to his teacup”), while in another, three dolphins cavort around the boat in tranquil seas. As the boy grows lonelier (“The way the whales called out to one another reminded him of how his mother used to call him in for tea”), a seed hidden in the soil in his teacup begins to grow, ready to bear fruit when he finally makes landfall; a companion appears not long after. Ottley’s paintings offer readers a thrilling share in the boy’s adventure. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)