cover image The Seal Mother

The Seal Mother

Mordicai Gerstein, Mordecai Gerstein. Dial Books, $10.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0302-5

Gerstein reworks the selkie myth into a deeply moving story of a son's loveand sacrificefor his mother. On Midsummer's Eve a beautiful seal slips out of her skin and takes ""human form to dance and sing.'' A fisherman hides the sealskin and promises that if she will marry him, he will allow her to go free in seven years. When the time comes, it is her son Andrew who must bravely find the sealskin and choose to set her free. Like all good folktales, this story, told by an old man with ``deep, dark eyes,'' hovers between magic and reality. Yet this version has a poignant touch; Andrew's moment of truth is stirring and human. The extraordinary pictures allow the reader to glimpse the images of what might beanimals that gleam orange in the firelight and seals that dance like humans in the shimmering sea. (4-8)