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Allen Morgan. Illustrated by Jirina Marton.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1986.
unpaged, paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-920303-61-7. cloth, $12.95. ISBN 0-92030360-9. CIP.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

This good-night story, told by a father to his daughter, builds on the child's activity just before bedtime. Nicole imagines that she is sailing a boat and taking her animals with her, when her father assures her that he will tell her "a story to sail away by."

There follows a delightful tale about Nicole who is "sailing away to the end of the day, down the long winding river that goes to the sea." With each repetition of this refrain, yet another animal asks to join her. Nicole's answer is always the same: yes, there is room, but the prospective passenger must bring "something to make the boat better." And they do. The crow brings grass for the sail, the cow brings flowers to make into ropes, and the kittens bring wind. The boat grows larger to carry them all and they eventually sail to the end of the river and out to the sea. At that point, the illustrations flash back to Nicole asleep in her bed as her father whispers, "Good night, sleep tight."

Each page of text is enriched by a full-page colour illustration until Nicole sails to dreamland, when the art takes over both facing pages and the text is printed at the bottom. Artist Jirina Marton achieves a certain whimsy and a richness of incidental detail in each picture that will appeal to the young reader.

With changing roles in today's society, bedtime is no longer a ritual for mothers only. More and more fathers are reading stories to children and tucking them in for the night. This book will appeal to those fathers and children who share such care.

Patricia Fry, Toronto, ON.
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