GREYLING by Jane Yolen

GREYLING

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Originally published in 1968 with illustrations by William Stobbs, a smoothly-told selchie story reshaped as a parable of a youth leaving his parents. A fisherman--who, with his wife, has long yearned for a child--takes home an orphaned seal that becomes a boy. Fearful that "Greyling" will return to the sea, the wife withholds him from it for 15 years, until his adopted father's boat is wrecked in a terrible storm. Greyling rescues the fisherman, but never returns to land. True to their gender prototypes, the wife has expressed her grief at being childless while her husband "kept his sorrow to himself so that his wife would not know his grief and thus double her own"; again, it is she who clings to the boy and her husband who first points out that Greyling has "Gone where his heart calls...this way is best." Ray's art is heroically powerful, the sculptural forms so sturdily defined that they seem to have congealed, though the figures (especially the seal) do reveal some tenderness. The stylized waves seem unnaturally stiff for such a watery tale, but the overall effect is decorative, even handsome. A worthwhile variant on a tried-and-true formula. (Fiction. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 31st, 1991
ISBN: 0-399-22262-6
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1991




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