cover image Seaside Dream

Seaside Dream

Janet Costa Bates, illus. by Lambert Davis, Lee & Low, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-60060-347-1

First-time author Bates debuts with a story, inspired by her own family history, about relationships that stretch across many years and great distances. Relatives are arriving from "across the country and across town" to celebrate the 70th birthday of Cora's grandmother, who lives next door to Cora by the beach. However, one relative who is not making the trip is Grandma's sister, Aura; the sisters were separated many years earlier when Cora's grandmother left her home in the island nation of Cape Verde. A nighttime beach walk with her grandmother, followed by a dream sequence, gives Cora the inspiration to find the perfect gift for her grandmother. The close-knit nature of Cora's family shines through in Bates's prose, which is peppered with references to Cape Verdean cuisine and traditions. Davis's (The Jolly Mon) acrylic paintings are uneven; at times, Cora looks more like a tiny woman than a girl, and the characters can feel like they're pasted into the scenes. However, the beach setting is vibrant and lush, and the strength of Cora and her grandmother's relationship emanates from nearly every page. Ages 6–10. (Sept.)