by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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Stories of islands that have disappeared beneath the sea have long exerted a powerful hold over the human imagination. This beautifully told and illustrated story hints at some of the reasons why this may be so. On Carrie’s ninth birthday, her grandmother gives her a small box containing a perfect sand dollar and a note promising to take her to Billingsgate Island (a real place off the coast of Cape Cod), where she herself had found the sand dollar when she was just Carrie’s age. Now the island is uninhabited and entirely covered by the sea except at low tide. Grandma steers the motorboat out to the island, where the two picnic and explore, finding a piece of charred brick and the metal skeleton of the spiral lighthouse staircase lying on its side, artifacts of the flourishing community that once inhabited the island. Carrie closes her eyes and imagines how life might have been here long ago, in a sequence of pictures depicted in warm apricot earth tones that contrast with the coolness of the sea. There is a sense of the inexorable procession of time and the relentless power of the sea, stayed only in part by the transmission of stories and memories from one generation to another. “ ‘What I love about a place like this,’ ” says Grandma, “ ‘is that it reminds us that nature still can have its way once in a while.’ ” Lewin’s (Gorilla Walk, 1999, etc.) watercolors are luminous. The predominance of blue and the long lines of the horizon unify the pages, making this book lovely to look at as well as to read. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-80539-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2000


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