A Japanese tale about a mother who walks to the undersea kingdom of whales to find her daughter and must weave a coat for the whale queen from her own hair to gain the child's release. This delectable premise unfurls in a rather plodding read. Esterl (The Fine Round Cake, 1991) unnecessarily frames the staid text with scenes of a contemporary mother and child; she tells him the story at the beach, but he falls asleep before she finishes. Zawadzki depicts realistic figures in vast underwater spaces; the atmospheric effects are majestic. Every page is covered with cyan of a different intensity, corresponding to the amount of light in the water, but the overall effect is not haunting, but cold.