VAN LIESHOUT, Maria. Splash!: A Little Book About Bouncing Back. illus. by author. unpaged. Feiwel & Friends. 2008. Tr $12.95. ISBN 978-0-312-36914-9. LC number unavailable.
PreS-Gr 2–In this deceptively simple book, a down-in-the-dumps seal, like many young readers, views things in black and white, in terms of success and failure. Though his friends invite him to play, Splash doesn’t feel like swimming. However, when he’s challenged to a race, he can’t resist and jumps into the water, but the current carries him away, causing the others to laugh at him. Spotting a yellow orb drifting in the distance, he sobs, “Don’t bother rising today, sun.” As the object floats closer, Splash whispers, “OH, NO…I’ve brought the sun down.” He apologizes and attempts to push it back into the sky, but it keeps coming back to him. However, with every bounce, the “sun shined a bit brighter…. And Splash did, too.” The story concludes with Splash’s final push and his declaration: “The sun is up…and so am I!” The last spread shows two smiling seals playing beneath a warmed-by-yellow sky. Set against white backgrounds, the artwork pairs spare lines with blue watercolor washes. Onomatopoeia enlivens the simple text. This tale conveys feelings from a child’s point of view, depicting the way that youngsters perceive their world and suggesting that they can control their destiny. Splash brings sunshine to a gloomy day.–Marian Creamer, Children’s Literature Alive, Portland, OR