My Life with the Wave

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The illustrator of the best-selling Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm teams up with Catherine Cowan in this buoyant fantasy of a boy who brings home a wave based on the story by Nobel laureate Octavio Paz. Stunning oil paintings shimmer with light and laughter in this unexpected, unforgettable tour de force.

A child befriends a wave at the seashore and brings her home.

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Overview

The illustrator of the best-selling Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm teams up with Catherine Cowan in this buoyant fantasy of a boy who brings home a wave based on the story by Nobel laureate Octavio Paz. Stunning oil paintings shimmer with light and laughter in this unexpected, unforgettable tour de force.

A child befriends a wave at the seashore and brings her home.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A boy creates his own endless summer when he brings home a wave from the family's beach vacation in this splashy fantasy based on a story by Nobel laureate Paz. The wave adores her new surroundings, spraying foam as she rushes through the household, floating with the boy and rocking him to sleep. But nature takes its course as the wave's moods turn out to be as "changeable as the tide." Her wild and unpredictable behavior spells the end of the wave's landlocked days, and as soon as winter weather freezes her solid, "a beautiful statue of ice," the distressed family returns her to the ocean where she belongs. Cowan's fluid adaptation is suffused with emotion. Within the framework of a fantastic tale, she successfully introduces the larger idea of humans' age-old struggle to find a balance between taming nature and coexisting with it. Any child who has caught a lightning bug or befriended a stray puppy will identify with the protagonist here. Buehner's (The Adventures of Taxi Dog) forceful oil-and-acrylic paintings offer views from above and below the action, conveying the blue-green wave's power and movement. And as lagniappe, a tiny surfing mouse, Scottie dog, cat, sea horse and other creatures are hidden throughout the artwork. Paired with the expert text, Buehner's larger-than-life depictions of the free-spirited wave sweep readers away to their own imaginary shores. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly
A boy creates his own endless summer when he brings home a wave from the family's beach vacation in this fantasy based on a story by Nobel laureate Paz. "Paired with the expert text," said PW in a starred review, "Buehner's larger-than-life depictions of the free-spirited wave sweep readers away to their own imaginary shores." Ages 3-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Rebecca Joseph
Most children bring home shells and rocks from a day at the beach. Not this book's narrator, who brings home a wave. For a while, the wave is a lovely visitor but her moods are as changeable as the tide, and after a while the boy's family must decide what to do with their uncooperative guest. Easy to read, this book has beautiful illustrations that have a hidden cat, dog, mouse, whale, and sea horse to discover in almost every illustration.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4Exhilirated by his first trip to the seashore, a young boy decides to capture a wave and bring it home. In this adaptation of an adult short story by Octavio Paz, Cowan uses language that dances along with the young protagonist as the wave floods the rooms of his house. At first, the boy and the wave enjoy a special friendship. Soon, however, he and his parents discover that the wave, subject to moods that change with the tides, has to go back to the ocean. At the end of the story, the child daydreams about bringing home a cloud, as ominous shapes appear in a patch of sky glimpsed through a window. Buehner uses acrylic and oil paints in richly colored, dramatic spreads to capture this flight of fancy. In one memorable scene, the boy wraps his arms around the wave, in the form of a geyserlike shower, in a loving embrace. In this spread, flashes of humor become more noticeablea cat and dog sit under an umbrella, while a tiny mouse peeks out from a sailboat on the mantel. Buehner inserts small details with such skill that they do not overpower or detract from the main story. Storytime audiences will be delighted by this unusual friendship and then awestruck by the mighty force of the wave, the power of which is revealed in a double spread of crashing surf and swirling sea monsters. A celebration of imagination from beginning to end.Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4--When a boy brings a wave home from vacation, he is crestfallen to discover that his new friend's capricious nature. This story undulates with imagery-rich language and buoyant paintings. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688126605
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

In her Own Words...

"Igrew up in a valley four miles from Jollyville, Texas (outside of Austin), where I attended first grade in a threeroom school. Friends and playmates, other than my brother and sister, were rare. Since we didn't have television, I entertained myself. Any movie, comic book, or old Nalional Geographic" fed my imagination with stories.

"Books were time-travel machines carrying me around the world and into other lives. I took what I read, then changed it, adding different characters to make the stories my own. I played these out with homemade paper dolls. At the end of the day, my characters were swept into a box and hidden away so that no one would find them and laugh at me.

"The only hint that I might one day write came while I lay sick, whining over my inability to do the things I dreamed of. My mother suggested I could write. Then I could do whatever I wanted without ever leaving my bed. That was not what I had in mind. I wanted to have the kind of wild adventures that another sickly child, Robert Louis Stevenson, wrote about.

"Among my favorite books were Bambi, The Jungle Book, and The Wind in the Willows—all with friendly animals. Living in the country, I heard foxes and raccoons kill our chickens. Even gathering eggs could be frightening. Chicken snakes, swollen with swallowed eggs, often lay coiled in dark nests. I decided to tame the wild world and bring it inside to live. I tried rabbits, snakes, hawks, and a fox, but discovered that wild things do best in the wild, just as waves are best left in the ocean.

"When other children ran outside to play, I hung around listening to the grown-ups. One day, my grandfather offered to tell me about when he and his brother went to the Klondike, or the time they drove cattle from Texas to the Dakotas. I was thrilled. Until my grandmother said, "That child doesn't want to hear your old tales." Later, when traveling, I found myself searching for his lost stories.

"What I wanted to do with my life changed depending upon the day, the month, and year. I planned to run a museum, raise angora goats, be a composer, play the violin, dig for lost civilizations, work in a zoo, sail around the world, save the planet from humanity, explore the Amazon basin, collect unknown orchid species, be a photographer, and drive from Alaska to the tip of South America.

"It wasn't until after I had graduated from college that I began to write. Then, needing to earn a living, I became an accountant. That didn't last. Encouraged by my husband, Carl, I escaped and returned to writing.

"As a child, I liked pretending I was grown. But now that I'm grown, I like nothing better than pretending I'm a child again."

Marl Buehner has six little pilgrims of his own in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he lives with his wife, Caralyn, and their children: Heidi, Grant, Sarah, Samuel, Laura, and Jake. Mark has illustrated many wonderful children's books, including I Am the Cat by Alice Schertle and Harvy Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen.

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