Stylized in an otherworldly manner, Italian illustrator Ceccoli's English-language debut begins as a boy sets sail for a tiny island. "I spy with my little eye a bird flying by" reads the accompanying text, the type curving across the skies of the double-page spreads as if tossed by the ocean breeze. The locks of the boy's hair, an aqueous blue, undulate like the tentacles of a sea urchin, as do the rays of the smiling, rosy-cheeked sun, the tail feathers of birds and the branches of trees. Blackstone (Cleo the Cat) enlarges the sentence of text with each page, until: "I spy with my little eye someone waiting for me on a beach beside the sea and a big tangly tree on an island close to me." The "someone" turns out to be a blue dog, and the island looks as if it's made of plasticine, with cheerful, lumpy vegetation and an assortment of sea creatures distributed carefully over its smooth surface. After an afternoon of fishing, the dog and the boy nap in the sun, near a plate full of fish bones. The last spread shows boy and dog sailing together for home under lavender skies and a watchful blue crescent moon. Paired with the incantatory quality of the verse, the off-center illustrations leave readers with the pleasantly hazy sensation of having spent a long day at the beach. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
With a wonderfully predictable text, children will love to hear and read along with this book over and over again. They will journey together with a young boy sailing in his boat across the sea to a distant land. We see what he does through his little spyglass. This delightfully happy text is accompanied by beautiful acrylic and oil pastel illustrations. Ceccoli makes a stunning debut for an English speaking audience using brilliant colors and soft lines to depict the self-discovering journey that we travel on through Blackstone's magical voyage on an ocean of words. "Together we laugh, together we play," as we go along on a surprise trip to an island and home again. This is a book that everyone can share in its heartwarming story and implicit simplicity. From the front cover to the back, we make a complete and amazing journey to a new and glorious world. 2002, Barefoot Books,
— Christina Burbage
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Against a backdrop of oceany greens and tropical blues warmed by the sun's golden rays, a young boy with blue hair sets sail on a voyage across the sea, his spyglass trained on an island where someone is eagerly awaiting his arrival. And who is there to greet him? A friendly dog that accompanies him on the return voyage. The text begins, "I spy with my little eye a bird flying by." The waves of type rise and fall, simulating the rocking motion of the ocean, as each page adds another phrase to the simple rhyme ("-the sun in the sky-/a big tangly tree on an island far from me-"). Ceccoli's surreal acrylic and oil-pastel illustrations perfectly capture the rhythmical nuances of the text; the images are memorable both for their unique style and unusual color schemes. This is the artist's first English-language picture book; her most recent honor was the Italian Andersen Prize naming her best illustrator of the year for 2001. While the art is stronger than the story, the text is lyrical and suits the mood.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.