cover image Island in the Sun

Island in the Sun

Harry Belafonte, Irving Burgie. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2387-0

Turning the pages of this sunny picture book, adapted from one of Belafonte's hit songs, readers can almost feel a gentle ocean breeze and hear a calypso beat. Belafonte and Burgess pay tribute to the natural beauty of Jamaica and its hardworking people, describing scenes Belafonte fondly recalls from the five years he spent as a child on that island. ""This is my island in the sun/ Where my people have toiled since time begun./ Tho I may sail on many a sea,/ Her shores will always be home to me."" In some of her strongest work, Ayliffe's (Something Special) bright, distinctive cut-paper collages feature lush green palm trees, radiantly blooming flowers and a gorgeous cerulean sky. Men in straw hats gather coconuts and haul them to a busy market that crackles in confetti colors. A woman labors to cut long brown stalks of sugar cane for her family and a fisherman casts his net into the frothy waves. But there is time for fun, too: farmworkers take a break for the island equivalent of backgammon; young men jam on big drums; everyone dances the night away during carnival. This vibrant outing is the armchair equivalent of a Caribbean vacation. Ages 3-7. (May)