cover image Paper Boats

Paper Boats

Rabindranath Tagore. Boyds Mills Press, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-1-878093-12-7

A boy writes his name and village on paper boats and floats them down a stream, in the hope that ``someone in some strange land will find them and know who I am.'' Written around the turn of the century by Nobel Prize-winner Tagore, the unassuming poem has an air of serenity aptly matched by the delicate cut-paper illustrations. Although this technique allows a pleasing precision in the sharpness of its images, the result is a series of static spreads that do little to enhance the verse. Bochak's range of colors--from the yellows of summer to the muted pinks and violets of a sultry night--is unusual, though some of the book's later illustrations tend toward drabness. The word pictures here, while graceful, are too passive and sophisticated for the intended audience--speaking of his boats, the narrator says, ``The fairies of sleep are sailing in them, / and the lading is their baskets / full of dreams.'' An unrewarding outing. Ages 2-8. (Jan.)