________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 20 . . . . June 5, 1998

cover Rainbow Bay.

Stephen Eaton Hume. Illustrated by Pascal Milelli.
Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 1997.
26 pp, cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-895714-75-3.

Subject Headings:
Bays-Juvenile fiction.
Nature-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool - grade 3 / Ages 4 - 8.
Review by Mary Thomas.

**** /4

image Rainbow Bay, runner-up for the 1998 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon prize for illustration, is a quiet, lush book, and appropriately so as it is the story of a day in the life of a boy and his dog on Silver Spring Island where cars and trucks are not allowed, where transport is by bicycle, horse, or boat, and where time is determined by the sun and the tides. The intense colours of the oil-painted illustrations glow with the deep greens of the forest, the bright blues and turquoises of sunny coastal waters, and dark mysterious shadows, as the boy moves from waking to morning chores (digging for clams at low tide, filling the wood box) to a day of exploring and imagining, and an evening of listening to the "thousand frogs in green tuxedos [who] bang their drums along the banks...announcing the arrival of high tide".

      Visually this is a very beautiful book. Its illustrations spread right to the edges of the pages so that the reader is sucked into the atmosphere of each picture. The text, which is clearly displayed, in white or black depending on the mood of the background, is not set out in any other way so that it becomes a part of the whole design. The story is a very gentle meander through a happy day, magical in its very ordinariness. The one jarring note is the total absence of adults! Parents are mentioned only initially as fellow residents of the boy's house; after that, the boy and his dog live their day alone, making a sandwich to take with them for lunch, and returning in the twilight not to dinner and a hug, but to the frog chorus by the bay. It is an idyllic existence, but a very lonely one.

      Childhood can be a time of loneliness, however, and certainly the children to whom I read this story were captivated and delighted by it. They loved the pictures as pictures, but also for the elements that they added to the story which were not specified in the text. It was I who felt the lack of human realationships, not they! Certainly this book deserves the honour it has been given.

Highly recommended.

Mary Thomas works in two Winnipeg School Division No.1 elementary libraries.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364