Have you ever seen Thomas Eakins’ painting, Baby at Play? It’s one of my favorite Eakins paintings because the baby at its center is so completely absorbed in her blocks that the viewer has to “enter” on her level.
The cover of Karen Lynn Williams’ new picture book, A Beach Tail, brought the Eakins painting to mind. The book’s illustrator is Floyd Cooper, and his pastel paintings are the perfect complement to this gentle story of a father and son at the beach. Cooper has captured the total absorption that children bring to their activities. Nothing is going to tear this boy away from completing his drawing of a lion, a fact which leads to the drama in this story. A drama which, as you might expect, is happily resolved.