Ocean's Child

Ocean's Child

4.2 4
by Trish Holland, David Diaz, Christine Ford

A stunning new picture book, illustrated by a Caldecott medalist!

As a mother and child canoe along the Alaskan Beaufort seacoast, they observe a baby walrus held close to its mother’s spotted chest, sea lions snuggling, and the Northern Lights shimmering above. David Diaz’s powerful, lush illustrations bring to life the majesty of the ocean and

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A stunning new picture book, illustrated by a Caldecott medalist!

As a mother and child canoe along the Alaskan Beaufort seacoast, they observe a baby walrus held close to its mother’s spotted chest, sea lions snuggling, and the Northern Lights shimmering above. David Diaz’s powerful, lush illustrations bring to life the majesty of the ocean and skies—and the vulnerability of the ocean’s biggest and smallest inhabitants, from the orca to the puffin. The book ends with the human mother and her sleeping child gliding home for the night. “Good night, Mother Ocean, good night.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This simple but melodic bedtime tale gains heft from an intriguing setting-the Beaufort seacoast of Alaska-and from transcendent illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Diaz (Smoky Night). On each spread, an expectant mother and a small child say goodnight to an ocean animal they spot while canoeing along the coast: "Furry babies curl into a big bear ball/ On the ice as it drifts through the dark./ To Ocean's children we say good night./ Good night, little polar bears, good night." Each rhyme offers a tidbit of the creature's life: puffins "nest in the cliff" and a beluga whale "naps on Mother's back." Diaz's art enlarges this tale with a stylized, almost mythic quality. Stars are as ornate as snowflakes and waves are elegant curlicues in a saturated ocean of blue, green and purple. Animals are bathed in a golden glow and are even translucent at times. The narrator concludes with a tender good-night to her sleeping unborn baby and older child who are "child[ren] of Ocean as well,/ Forever a part of me." Every page exudes a soothing sense of magic. Ages 2-5. (May)

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Children's Literature - Ellen Welty
An Inuit mother and her ocean child paddle toward home as the other ocean's children go to sleep. Stunningly beautiful illustrations by Caldecott medalist David Diaz complement the gentle free verse goodnight poem. In their bedtime journey the mother and baby see whales, polar bears, sea otters and puffins as the daylight gradually fades to moonlight. The faces of the humans and the animals remain luminous in the deepening twilight, surrounding them in a warm glow as the northern lights shimmer overhead, creating a magical world. Young children will enjoy the soothing rhythm of the poem as they prepare to go to sleep. The illustrations create an atmosphere of safety and harmony that lends to the bedtime story quality. Reviewer: Ellen Welty
School Library Journal
PreS–“When Sun slips over the edge of the world/And Moon sails up to the stars,” an obviously pregnant Eskimo mother and her young child paddle along the seacoast and observe different ocean creatures. Each spread features a large illustration of a particular mother/baby animal pair (or group)–otters, walruses, dolphins, polar bears, etc.–settling down to sleep, with a smaller illustration of the duo looking on from their boat. Brief, descriptive sentences end with the refrain: “To Ocean’s child we say good night./Good night, little orca {puffin, etc.}, good night.” The artwork is done in the same finely crafted, softly colored graphic style that Diaz used in The Pot That Juan Built (Lee & Low, 2002) and César: Si, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can! (Marshall Cavendish, 2004). He has projected swirly reflectionlike patterns in the water that seem to bounce off clothing, boat, and sea animals, along with representations of plant life and bubbles. Unfortunately, the rhythmic cadence of the unrhymed text and repetitive refrain is not maintained throughout. Also, references to both the woman’s unborn child (“…asleep/In a sea of her own quiet dreams”) and to the child with her as “Ocean’s child” seem a bit abstract, given the authors’ and illustrator’s careful choice of animals appropriate to the setting and accurate depictions of their sleep habits.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
In deepening evening, a mother and baby, their fur-trimmed hoods glowing like halos, paddle through waters lit in turn by the setting sun, moon, stars and northern lights. As the pair passes a succession of ocean creatures-mother and baby otters, beluga whales, puffins and more-the text lulls listeners with quiet declarative sentences followed by a patterned refrain: "Baby seal drifts off to sleep, / Her flippers on top of her tummy. / To Ocean's child we say good night. / Good night, little seal, good night." Diaz's luminous jewel tones sparkle with reflected light in stylized compositions whose motifs include watery batik and the totemic iconography of First Nation Alaskans. For family sharing, storytimes and individual browsing-lovely all around. (Picture book. 3-6)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Christine Ford and Trish Holland both live in Texas. They collaborated on the successful Golden Book The Soldiers’ Night Before Christmas. Christine Ford is also the author of the middle-grade novel Scout and Trish Holland is the author of two Little Golden Books: Lasso the Moon and Come Back, Zack!

David Diaz received the Caldecott Medal for Smoky Night by Eve Bunting at the very beginning of his career illustrating children’s books. He lives in San Diego, California.

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Ocean's Child 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bp0602 More than 1 year ago
Ocean's Child is written as a poem. It is about an Eskimo mother in a canoe with her child as they tell the animals of the ocean good night. Preschool through primary aged children will enjoy this book. The illustrations in this book were appealing to me because of the colors used and how well they went with the flow of the poem. I found this to be a nice book to read. It would be a nice addition fir a classroom library to read in a unit on Alaska. It also makes a sweet bedtime story.
DJ_Lightfoot More than 1 year ago
It's a gorgeous book -- both the writing and the illustrations. By the final pages, I had tears in my eyes. There's a depth here that few picture books achieve. I bought it for my great-niece, a preschooler, but I think it would be a beautiful gift for any expectant mother, too. "Beneath my heart rests Baby asleep, in a sea of her own quiet dreams ... forever a part of me." Oh, there I go again, with the tears welling up. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
SueWard More than 1 year ago
Ocean's Child is a lovely poetic story with creative art lulling you through the ocean as you see the ocean babies swim through the pages. It's a perfect book to sit quietly with your child and point out the names of the oceans babies as they swim close to their moms. Trish, Chris, and David have seamlessly put together a beautiful book that you will want to read over and over and you will want to look for more and more patterns and breath in the colors of the ocean.