THE TIDE by Nik Pollard


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 4
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Pollard’s tide is like a poem. Beginning and ending each spread is a word repeated three times, often one that actually sounds like the actions described in the middle of that verse: “Scratch, scratch, scratch. The clam digger rakes the sand. Mussels and clams clattering, shattering into his bucket. Scratch, scratch, scratch.” Text lines dip and curve over the page, mirroring the waves, mirroring the clam digger’s feet trudging through the sand. “S” and “sh” sounds are used plentifully throughout, sounding wonderfully oceanic. Illustration strengths are the clam digger’s large yellow slicker and the flocks of various birds; seagulls and geese are joined by several other (unidentified) kinds, with as many as six species of bird per spread. However, an over-busy feeling pervades the pictures. Too many types of shape and line, along with harsh color combinations, deny the eye a place to rest or focus. Pixilated lines, used for water texture, are too jagged for the waves and foam they are supposed to depict; they evoke a technological world more than a watery one. But onomatopoeia such as “kronk, kronk, kronk” for geese honking and “stoop, stoop, stoop” for bicycle wheels in the sand combines with alliteration like “full of flapping fish,” and all these sounds build to an entrancing combination printed in undulating waves: “Chug. Trudge. Splash. Scratch. Kronk. Prod. Hush. Gush. Swoop. Stoop. Beam. Gleam.” Readers’ eyes may be confused but their ears will definitely be captured. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7613-1536-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2002