TO SAIL A SHIP OF TREASURES by Lisl Weil

TO SAIL A SHIP OF TREASURES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is Well's inspirational memoir in pictures--looking like a picture book, precisely describing her Vienna childhood and beginnings as an artist, concluding with her swastika-impelled departure for America and a few, make-your-own-story words about personal memories: in toto, distinctive and hard to classify. It may be hard to find a specific audience for it too; yet Well has a knack, as in Our Worm To You with Love, of making assorted particulars and universal sentiments cohere. Partly it's her light, writing-and-drawing touch; partly it's recognition of the incidents and details that register. ""Because I wanted more money to buy books, I began to draw picture cards that I hoped to sell. The owner of the shop. . . said she would display them and pay me if she sold any. My dad was my first customer. But other people bought them, too. I felt proud."" And we see her, looking like an older Madeline, peering 'round the shop corner--cards in the window, shopkeeper behind the counter--as her proper-Viennese father leaves with his purchase. As an evocation of a bygone Europe, this does have a Madeline tinge: children who have internalized the milieu will even find some similar childhood crises here, with deeper ramifications. A long illness leaves Well looking ""funny,"" ""different."" Thematically: ""Crooked face and all, I sailed on to new things, good and bad, to store away with my remembered treasures."" It's a touching legacy to pass on; and Well's plainspoken sincerity, coupled with her sprightly drawings (resolute young Lisl, sailing off with a treasure chest of drawers), keeps it from being mawkish.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1984
Publisher: Atheneum