Mister Seahorse

( 15 )


When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse's belly! She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets some other underwater fathers caring for their babies: Mr. Tilapia, who carries his babies in his mouth; Mr. Kurtus, who keeps his on his head; and Mr. Catfish, who is baby-sitting his young hatchlings.

Eric Carle has done it again, with astonishingly beautiful collage illustrations and a story that introduces ...

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When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse's belly! She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets some other underwater fathers caring for their babies: Mr. Tilapia, who carries his babies in his mouth; Mr. Kurtus, who keeps his on his head; and Mr. Catfish, who is baby-sitting his young hatchlings.

Eric Carle has done it again, with astonishingly beautiful collage illustrations and a story that introduces the very young to the wonders of aquatic life . . . and some very special daddies. A "hide and seek" feature with acetate overlays adds a colorful surprise.

After Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs on Mr. Seahorse's belly, he drifts through the water, greeting other fish fathers who are taking care of their eggs.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Award-winning author-illustrator Eric Carle creates an undersea world of dads in this effervescent, educational picture book.

Starring Mr. Seahorse -- who grows Mrs. Seahorse's eggs inside a pouch in his belly -- Carle's look at sea creatures follows the hero as he floats through the water, talking to other fathers along the way. As readers see Mr. Seahorse's belly get bigger, they learn about the nest-building Mr. Stickleback, the egg-carrying Mr. Tilapia, and Mr. Kurtus, who keeps Mrs. Kurtus's eggs on his head until they hatch. Mr. Seahorse comes across other fish, too, such as a school of trumpet fish hiding behind a patch of reeds and a lionfish behind a reef -- illustrated acetate pages throughout the book hide the fish until the reader turns the page -- but when Mr. Seahorse's tummy grows big enough, the little seahorses come out and swim away into their new sea world.

Carle has dreamed up another winner, sure to transfix readers with its marine-colored illustrations and enlighten them with its message. Buoyant in atmosphere, each page will dazzle you with the author's signature artwork, mixing white space and bright colors that appear gentle yet deeply complex. A perfect way to talk about a family's love and different kinds of dads, especially when paired with Todd Parr's The Daddy Book or Laura Numeroff's What Daddies Do Best. Matt Warner

The Washington Post
In Mister Seahorse...a salty salute to devoted dads, beloved collage artist Eric Carle draws a warm-hearted story from the ocean's depths...The beguiling cast of creatures includes some animals that Mr. Seahorse doesn't see: They are carefully camouflaged under clear overlay pages printed with vibrant seascapes. This interactive element is a delightful addition to the book.—Jessica Bruder
From The Critics
Breathtaking as always, Carle's painted-tissue-paper collages capture the variety and beauty of the undersea world. Mr. Seahorse journeys through the ocean, carefully tending his eggs and greeting other fish fathers who care for their young. Predators hide behind acetate overlays, but this nurturing daddy sees his babies to a safe birth. (Ages 2 to 4)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2004
Publishers Weekly
In this original, entirely engaging book, Carle adds to his rich cache of endearing animal characters while delivering some intriguing information about several underwater species. Father fish come to the forefront here-and deservedly so. When Mrs. Seahorse announces that it is time for her to lay her eggs, Mr. Seahorse affably asks, "Can I help?" She then lays her eggs into a pouch in the belly of her mate, who earnestly announces, "I'll take good care of our eggs.... I promise." Then, drifting through the sea, the expectant pater meets up with other fish who are also carrying-or protecting-eggs, such as Mr. Tilapia, who carries eggs in his mouth, and Mr. Kurtus, who has stuck his mate's eggs on top of his head. Chipper Mr. Seahorse gives each words of encouragement ("Keep up the good work"; "You must be very happy"; "You are doing a fine job"). Between each of Mr. Seahorse's encounters, he unknowingly swims by other sea creatures, cleverly camouflaged behind curtains of seaweed, a coral reef and a rock. Yet readers spy all of these hidden critters when they lift acetate pages, adding a delightful dimension to this first-rate fish tale, capped by a winsome, child-confidence-building finale. In his elegant painted tissue-paper collages, Carle innovatively balances pastel hues with shocks of brilliant color, creating an appealing seascape that succeeds swimmingly. Ages 4-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, Mr. Seahorse takes them into a pouch on his belly and promises to care for them. In the ocean he passes other fish and meets other fathers caring for their young: a stickleback, a lion fish, a tilapia, a bullhead, etc. When it is time for his babies to be born, Mr. Seahorse sends them off to be on their own. This tribute to caring fathers includes facts on the fish that do this, but it is particularly distinguished by Carle's personally traditional use of self-painted tissue paper collage, stunning cut paper shapes on white backgrounds. True to each fish's anatomy, they also add to the esthetic impact of the representation. A few pages have clever overlays of transparent plastic acetate which create screens of seaweed or reef to show how some fish are concealed in nature. The perky dads with names may not be realistic, but the general information provided in a charming way is factual. 2004, Philomel Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 3 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Carle once again successfully introduces his young fans to an interesting aspect of the natural world. Using oceanic hues, he creates a menagerie of fascinating underwater creatures with his trademark painted tissue-paper collage illustrations. After Mrs. Seahorse carefully lays her eggs in the pouch on his belly, Mr. Seahorse gently drifts through the water, promising to take good care of their young while they incubate. As he floats along, he politely greets other fish fathers similarly caring for their offspring and praises their efforts, telling them, "Keep up the good work" and "You should feel proud of yourself." Interspersed between these encounters are scenes where he unknowingly swims past fish that are camouflaged (e.g., trumpet fish hide in some reeds and a lionfish lurks behind a coral reef), and their presence is revealed when readers turn the overlaying acetate pages. Although these episodes do not contribute to the main theme of the story, they introduce a greater variety of sea life and are sure to be a hit with children. Finally, Mr. Seahorse's task is complete and the babies are ready to be born and swim away on their own. Repeated phrases and a balanced structure make this offering a good choice for reading aloud. Although the prolific Carle has produced stronger stories, this one is sure to appeal to a wide audience.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The striking single seahorse gracing the cover of this tribute to aquatic fatherhood could never be mistaken as anything other than one of Carle's consummately creative collage creatures. The graphically arresting cover leads to rows of baby seahorses swimming across the endpapers and then on to a wonderful variety of jewel-toned fish set against white backgrounds with just the suggestion of pale blue and green waves in bold strokes of watercolor. The star of this underwater show, Mr. Seahorse, swims through his underwater home as he carries the eggs that Mrs. Seahorse has laid. He greets other fathers that are carrying eggs or caring for their young, complementing each fish on his fine work. The father fish alternate with other kinds of fish that Mr. Seahorse doesn't see because they are hiding behind camouflage elements such as seaweed and coral, which are overprinted on clear acrylic pages. These camouflage pages illustrate how different kinds of fish can hide themselves, but as each of these special pages is turned to cover Mr. Seahorse, the reader sees how he can hide himself as well. The simple, thoughtfully told story includes repetitive phrases and a predictable structure with an emotionally satisfying ending as Mr. Seahorse sends his babies out into the watery world. (author's note) (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399242694
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 23,212
  • Age range: 2 - 6 Years
  • Lexile: AD620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 12.28 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Carle lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Ever since he began innovating the look and function of children's stories in the late 1960s, Eric Carle has remained an author whose stories reliably hit the bestseller lists and remain on kids' bookshelves through generations.

He began as a designer of promotions and ads, and one illustration of a red lobster helped jump-start his career. The lobster caught the eye of author Bill Martin, Jr.; Martin asked Carle to illustrate the now-classic 1967 title Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and a career was born.

Born in Syracuse, New York but brought by his immigrant parents back to Germany when he was six, Carle was educated in Stuttgart and designed posters for the United States Information Center there after graduating from art school. He finally returned to the country he missed so much as a child in 1952.

He eventually began procuring work on children's titles, and found himself becoming increasingly involved in them. "I felt something of my own past stirring in me," he wrote in a 2000 essay. "An unresolved part of my own education needed reworking, and I began to make books -- books for myself, books for the child in me, books I had yearned for. I became my own teacher -- but this time an understanding one."

He began his career with the 1968 title 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo; but his next title, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is what still endears him to young readers today. Employing his bright, collage style and lending an immediacy to the tale by manifesting the caterpillar's hunger in actual holes in the pages, Carle began what would be a long career of creative approaches to simple stories. From the chirp emerging from The Very Quiet Cricket to the delightful fold-out pages in Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, Carle's books provide surprises that make his stories come alive in ways that many titles for preschoolers do not.

Carle's style, with its diaphanous, busy and bold artwork, is perfect for engaging new readers. His stories are also popular with parents and educators for their introductions to the natural world and its cycles. It's a particular pleasure to follow Carle into different corners of the world and see what can be learned from the creatures who live in them.

Good To Know

Regularly asked where he gets his ideas, Carle is quoted on his publisher's web site as responding: "Of course, the question of where ideas come from is the most difficult of all. Some people like to say they get ideas when they're in the shower. That's always a very entertaining answer, but I think it's much deeper than that. It goes back to your upbringing, your education, and so forth." He does say, however, that the idea for The Very Hungry Caterpillar came when he whimsically began punching holes in some paper, which suggested to him a bookworm at work. His editor later suggested he change the bookworm to a caterpillar, and the rest is history.

Carle was unhappy to be in Germany when his immigrant parents brought him back there as a child. He hated his new school and wanted to go back to America. He said: "When it became apparent that we would not return, I decided that I would become a bridge builder. I would build a bridge from Germany to America and take my beloved German grandmother by the hand across the wide ocean."

Before he became a freelance illustrator and began working on children's books, Carle worked as a graphic designer for the New York Times and as art director of an ad agency.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northampton, Massachusetts and the Berkshires
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 25, 1929
    2. Place of Birth:
      Syracuse, New York
    1. Education:
      Akademie der bildenden Künste, Stuttgart, 1946-50
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    Great book

    I bought this book this summer for my under the sea theme. I am a pre-school teacher and Eric Carle is one of my favorite authors. This is absolutly one of his best. It is not only beautifully writen and illustrated but it is very informative. I learned right along with my children about how the male species of many under the water creatures help take care of their young. I would recommend this book to everyone!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    Highly recommend

    Great children's book - excellent illustrations and a lovely story. Recommend for children 3+.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Excellent addition to your Eric Carle collection

    This is a particularly interesting book since the male seahorse produces the babies instead of the female. Typical colorful Eric Carle illustrations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2009

    2gd book review

    Mr.Seahorse is babby sitting Mrs.seahorses eggs.my favorite part was whenh he passes all the fish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2007

    Mister Seahorse

    Eric Carle's Mister Seahorse tells about males that care for their babies/eggs. This story follows Mister Seahorse as he carries his eggs and journeys through the water. He runs into many other fish where the male has a larger role in caring for their young. Along the way, he passes sea animals that are also camouflaged, which are revealed when the transparency is turned to show the actual fish/animal. I find this to be a very interesting story that shares facts about the sea animals that children may not already know. It opens the door, so to speak, for children to learn more about sea animals, their habitats, and different defense mechanisms the sea animals use.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2007

    Mister Seahorse

    Mister Seahorse is an excellent easy read with an enlightening story. The text is arranged in paragraph form that incorporates easy to read dialogue with repetition. The author uses repetition of events and text in two ways. One way repetition is used, the father seahorse meets other sea animals that are fathers with their young. Another way of repetition used is with knowing that mister seahorse is going to meet a sea animal that is hiding behind something. The repetition used moves the reader to the next page because the text has the reader wondering what is hiding on the next page. The front cover has a seahorse that is the main character of the book. Eric Carle¿s illustrations are outstanding. He makes collage-like illustrations out of painted tissue paper. The illustrations are beautiful, however the book needs the text to understand the meaning of the book. The two illustrations that are the most effective in developing the story are when mister seahorse is given his young to carry and when mister seahorse¿s young hatch and the baby seahorses are sent into the big sea to live on their own. The character trait of a caring father is established through the text and illustrations. I think most children can identify mister seahorse and the other ¿father¿ sea animals taking care of their young.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2006


    My 6 year old daughter picked this book from the library, not knowing that she already read a book by the same author (Eric Carle), House for a Hermit Crab. Although (like me) she doesn't find the illustrations too appealing, she enjoys the story. After reading the book, she told me that she never thought there were fathers who actually took care of their children more than the mothers would take care of their babies. After reading 2 books from this author, my daughter likes to read more Eric Carle books... not because of the illustrations, but because of the wonderful stories. Now, she wants to read The Very Busy Spider. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2005

    I never knew Mister Seahorse was a great book

    Mister seahorse is a frindly fish and one day he actually becomes a dad . so buy the book Mister Seahorse and see whats inside.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2005

    This book is kind of useless - parents like it but kids...?

    This book has limited reread potential, my daughter sat through it the first time around but never wanted to read it agian. The artwork is interesting but in a washed out watercolor kind of way, not really something children can get caught up in, more something that adults would think nice. She much prefers stories that entertain. If you are wanting a story about what male fish that raise their young themselves do, perhaps, although it is not really scientific. Perhaps if your a single father it might be of some use. It is better gotten from the library read once and then brought back for someone else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2004

    Excellent Christmas gift!!!

    I got this book as a present for Christmas. It is beautiful. Eric Carle's imagination blows my mind and his watercolor pictures are full of cretivity. This is a perfect book to learn about the male fishes that take care of their baby eggs. Children will love learning, having fun reading and looking at great pictures. Make sure your children read this book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2005

    Wonderful Teaching Aid

    I used this book when instructing a unit on fish. It was a great way to teach camflauge and had wonderful pictures!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2004


    We first met Eric Carle through the pages of The Hungry Caterpillar, and we've been devoted fans from that day to this. As an author/illustrator his enthusiasm and imagination never ebb as he again fashions collage illustrations that catch and hold our eyes. Seahorse is one more achievement. Basing his witty and informative tale on fact young readers are introduced to Mr. Seahorse, a fish father who looks after his young. It is, of course, Mrs. Seahorse who lays the eggs, right in Mr. Seahorse's pouch. Mr. Seahorse is not the only fish father (we might think of him as a house husband) in his watery world - there's also Mr. Bullhead, Mr. Pipe, and Mr. Kurtus. As always, Eric Carle both enchants and illuminates. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2004

    Good 'DADDY' Story

    Your kids will learn seahorses, and some other sea creatures, are amazing daddies in this excellent read-aloud. I'm a big fan of Carle's unique collage illustrations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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