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Karen Patkau

Willowdale (Ont.), Annick Press, 1990. 24pp, paper, ISBN 1-55037-066-9 (paper) $5.95, ISBN 155037-067-7 (cloth) $14.95. CIP

Pre-school to Grade 2/Ages 4 to 7
Reviewed by Rebecca Raven.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

Karen Patkau has illustrated several Canadian children's books including Priscilla Galloway's Seal is Lost and Celia Lottridge's One Watermelon Seed.

In the Sea is the first book Patkau has both written and illustrated. The story tells the tale of a glass fish named Crystal who joins her fishy friends for a daring but delightful undersea adven­ture. The illustrations are inspired, with the mix of collage and pastels adding an ocean-like depth to the work. Bold, vivid colours of the deep sea and its creatures contrast with muted pastels of the sunset and star-lit night sky.

The text, however, does not fulfill the promise of the illustrations. While the story itself has a dreamlike quality, the text is choppy and lacks the fluidity of the illustrations. The visual appeal of In the Sea compensates for the weakness of its text, but it would be most effective shared one on one, rather than in a group setting.


Rebecca Raven, Hamilton Public Library, Hamilton, Ont.
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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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