A book about the power of the imagination marks excellent debuts for both author and illustrator. In April's eyes, her house is full of magical things, shown in Palagonia's paintings in their everyday guise and also as her fancy transforms them: the two benign white monsters in the cave in the basement mutter when Mother feeds them laundry; there's a desert with huge cactuses in the living room (""Stop climbing on the furniture""); and, best, a waterfall cascades down the stairs to form a pool. Older sister Meredith, practicing being a swan for her dance recital, scoffs: ""Don't act dumb. This is the front hall."" Patiently, April insists--""Practice here anyway""--and, taking her sister's advice, Meredith finally captures enough grace so that April sees her as a swan. Palagonia's carefully structured surreal art recalls Anthony Browne's luminous fantasies, though the message here is more explicit and direct. But the shared moment when the dancer discovers how to give her movements meaning is beautifully conveyed in a few carefully chosen words and by the artist's sensitive portrait of April and the lovely swan they both know has come to life. A story with real substance and appeal.