In bold woodcuts enhanced with rich color--a style made familiar in Tejima's Owl Lake and Fox's Dream (both 1987)--the gifted Japanese artist depicts the events leading up to a death in the natural world. When one little swan is unable to join the annual springtime migration, her family stays with her for a while after other swans have departed. Even after the family finally leaves, they return for one more night, during which the little swan dies; then at last they travel to the North, to begin nesting. Tejima's illustrations--with their reflected, reiterated patterns, the graceful forms of the swans, the muted use of the wood grain, and subtle gradations of light and color--are as lovely as ever. Though the behavior described in the simple text may be true to swans, it is sure to raise anxious questions with young listeners; but--with the help of a sensitive adult--the book could provide reassurance as well as a philosophical attitude toward the life cycle.