Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Review - My Ocean Is Blue

My Ocean Is Blue
by Darren Lebeuf
illustrated by Ashley Barron
Date: 2020
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

"This is my ocean," the young girl begins as she heads over the dunes with her mother. Then, as they pass the whole day at the seaside, she lyrically describes her ocean in simple, sensory detail. It's both "slimy" and "sandy," "sparkly" and "dull." It has wonderful sounds, as it "splashes and crashes and echoes and squawks." And it contains so many colors, from "rusted orange" to "runaway red," "faded white" to "polished green." Though "mostly it's blue." Nothing the girl experiences escapes her careful observation and appreciation. And at day's end, she can't wait for her next trip to the beach.

Author Darren Lebeuf, an award-winning photographer, uses spare text and a rhythmic style to create an evocative read-aloud. The vivid adjectives, both concrete and abstract, will inspire children to try to capture in words what they notice not only at the ocean, but in any natural setting. The bright, richly colored cut-paper collage illustrations by Ashley Barron add a captivating visual texture and depth to the story. The portrayal of a girl with a physical disability enjoying and actively participating in a day at the beach encourages all children to do the same in their own lives, while also offering a character education lesson in adaptability. This book has strong curriculum ties to primary nature units and life science lessons on oceans and the seaside, and it offers a perfect focus for nature-based education and outdoor classrooms.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

From the team that brought us My Forest Is Green comes this lovely companion volume that focuses on the seaside.

A little girl goes with her mother (or perhaps aunt or friend) to the seaside. While there, she explores everything the ocean and beach have to offer, comparing and contrasting its qualities. The ocean can be many different things at different times, or even all at once.

Ashley Barron's beautiful cut-paper illustrations are just as lovely here as they were in My Forest Is Green. She's quickly becoming one of my favourite picture-book illustrators.

This is a strong book that celebrates marine habitats. There's no plot, really, but the premise doesn't need one. The book's strength is its ability to show a child fully experiencing the ocean landscape over the course of one magical day.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 5/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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