- The Vanishing Lake by Paddy Donnelly
Trade ed. ISBN 9781953458032 $15.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 4–7 yrs
The lake near Meara’s grandfather’s house is a perfectly normal lake—it just has a tendency to disappear every so often. Granddad offers explanations (the sheep took a swim and their wool soaked up the water, the mermaids pulled the drain, the narwhals poked holes in the lake bed, etc.) to a skeptical Meara, but she can’t come up with a reasonable explanation for the vanishing lake. When she finally gives up her investigation, Granddad takes her to the to the nearby hills to watch the lake disappear, and it’s just as wondrous as his stories. The whimsical tone and lively art recall Benji Davies’ The Storm Whale (BCCB 10/14), and there’s a constant sense of motion here; even when the ripples of the lake are sucked up by mammoths, the fluid swoops of the rolling hills and luminous clouds bring vibrancy. Viewers will get a kick out of Meara’s look of determination as she tries to suss out the cause of [End Page 293] the vanishing lake (the scene when she questions a crane with notebook in hand is particularly amusing, as is the otter that trails after her), and they’ll appreciate that the book carries its playful fantasy to the very end. An author’s note discusses real disappearing lakes and their possible causes.