cover image The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life

The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life

Charlotte Moundlic, illus. by Olivier Tallec. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-59270-141-4

Moundlic and Tallec’s previous collaboration, The Scar, chronicled a boy’s anger and heartache following his mother’s death. Although the traumas faced by almost-eight-year-old Myron are less serious—spending the summer away from his mother, feeling intimidated by his cousins, being terrified that his swimsuit will fall off at any moment—this duo treats them with the same care and insight. Myron’s growth and the length and maturity of his narration make the story read like a middle-grade novel that’s been stripped down to essentials. Myron describes his first week at his grandparents’ house in the French countryside, from trying to avoid bathing (“The bathroom is really, really old and the shower is full of spiders”) to the illicit joy of biking without helmets and facing his biggest fear, a 10-foot diving board. Tallec’s softly rendered illustrations are always in tune with Myron’s moods—at the story’s emotional peak, Myron is seen from behind, alone at the edge of the diving board, futilely trying to hold up the yellow swimsuit that’s betraying him. A pensive, sensitive book for pensive, sensitive children. Ages 5–8. (May)