LETTER TO THE LAKE by Susan Marie Swanson


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From the team behind Getting Used to the Dark (1997), a picture book that contrasts the drudgery of a wintry here and now with sparkling, ever-green scenes of summer at the lake. It is early in the morning, dark and bitterly cold; Rosie's mom is distracted, the car won't start, and Rosie would rather be somewhere else--namely, the lake where she spends her summer days. As she gets up, helps jump-start the car, and motors off in the cruel crystal light of a sub-zero dawn, Rosie writes a letter in her mind to the lake. ""I keep thinking about you, Lake . . . Remember me? Remember me floating in a silver boat . . . I want to row all the way to summer, where you float the water lilies, and the loons, and the whole bright sky."" A pall hangs over the book--a disproportionate sense of sobriety: a weariness in Rosie's mother's eyes, resolute cheer from the neighbor who helps start the car, and a feeling everywhere that this is not the happiest of moments in their lives. It remains untapped, for Swanson only hints that something deeper is going on. The artwork is lovely, and not quite absolute: Winter is dour and dark, but its shadows and reflections are tinged with joyous summer images. If all love letters are made poignant by the sorrows of separation, this one rings true; the picture-book set, however, may find it too unsettling to appreciate.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: DK Ink