cover image Off to See the Sea

Off to See the Sea

Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3829-2

Bath time becomes an opportunity for adventure and make-believe in this book by collaborators Grimes and Zunon (Bedtime for Sweet Creatures). In imagery-rich free verse by Grimes, a mother addresses her child: “Up and up I lift you/ till your toes leave the tile.../ slip-sliding into a soft-scented sea.” Zunon renders the family of color naturalistically, with faces and bodies that appear three-dimensional. The figures move among cut-out forms of patterned paper that constitute the story’s make-believe elements—a waterfall (the faucet’s flow), crashing waves (which the child splashes up), undersea treasure (the tub plug), and more. A yellow rubber duck grows life-size: “Monsters straight ahead!” but there’s time for observing, too—the shining bath bubbles carry “copies of your smile.” The mother doesn’t fuss about the waves her child makes; instead, she grabs the opportunity to shampoo “silky,/ wet curls.” As the ocean adventure ends (“I sink my arm into the cooling waters of the raging sea”), the relationship between parent and child deepens through the imaginative possibilities offered by their everyday ritual. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]