See the Ocean

( 2 )

Overview

A beautifully illustrated and wodnerfully written picture book about Nellie, a little girl that is blind. Estelle Condra, the author who has experienced a severe loss of her sight, tells the story in such a way that it will bring tears to your eyes. An award winning title.

Driving through mountain fog to the beach, two young brothers compete to see who will catch the first glimpse of the ocean, but it is their blind sister Nellie ...

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Overview

A beautifully illustrated and wodnerfully written picture book about Nellie, a little girl that is blind. Estelle Condra, the author who has experienced a severe loss of her sight, tells the story in such a way that it will bring tears to your eyes. An award winning title.

Driving through mountain fog to the beach, two young brothers compete to see who will catch the first glimpse of the ocean, but it is their blind sister Nellie who senses it first.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite an overwrought climax, this debut effort for author and artist manages to distill some truths about growing up blind. Nellie enjoys her family's annual trips to the ocean. She feeds crumbs to the seagulls, tosses pebbles into ponds, handles seashells and driftwood. There is no explicit reference to her blindness until the end, when she claims to be able to see the ocean through a thick mist. For three precocious paragraphs, she rhapsodizes: ``The ocean is an old, old man born at the beginning of time.... When the sun shines, he laughs and gurgles and prattles in the rock pools....'' One of her brothers complains about Nellie's report (``She can't even see!"), but their mother concludes: ``Though your sister's eyes are blind, she can see with her mind.'' However ham-handed the dialogue, this title's tone of normalcy, its realistic family dynamics and its moody, streaky oil paintings may be enough to win over readers curious about life without sight. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This is the story of Nellie, who has loved the ocean for as long as she can remember. Nellie, a self-contained child, is quiet compared to her two rowdy older brothers who jostle and compete constantly. While driving to a beach vacation, both want to be the first to spy the ocean. But it is Nellie, who quietly claims that she sees the ocean despite a thick veil of fog. Her brothers accuse her of cheating and, only then, does she softly, lyrically, begin, "The ocean is an old, old man born at the beginning of time." There follows one of the most poetic descriptions of ocean you'll ever read. One that will stun you as much as it stuns Nellie's family. Silent for a long time, they acknowledge her truth and then another that may surprise readers... she can't see. You'll want to go back and reread immediately, watching again how the author's careful detailing adds to her story, how she's filled it with smells, sights and feelings of ocean and beach and how right it is when Nellie's mother tells her sons, "Though your sister's eyes are blind, she can see with her mind." Linda Crockett-Blassingame's soft oil colors and evocative images make this book equally satisfying in illustration.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A gentle story about a little girl and her family and their annual visits to the beach. It is there where Nellie plays in the water, learns to walk, and is told stories about the sea. Her brothers always have a contest to see who can see the water first, but not Nellie. Why? Readers discover the reason when one year it is very foggy and the boys cannot see the ocean, but Nellie announces that she can see it and describes it as a man with a white beard and feet made of shells. Their mother tells the boys that their blind sister can see with her mind. The story is beautifully done as well as nicely illustrated with oil paintings of the seaside and the family, always hiding Nellie's eyes with a hat. The little girl may seem overly romanticized, but her activities at the beach and her lovely description make up for it.-Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA
Linda Callaghan
Every year Gerald and Jamin enjoy their fierce competition to be the first to spot the ocean. But when a heavy mist envelops the Black Mountains, it is their blind sister, Nellie, who senses the ocean first. Condra's warm family vignette is more a paean to nature and Nellie's imaginative vision than a fully formed story. The rich colors of the oil paintings that accompany the text also often blend into one another, giving an unfocused, misty quality to the double-page spreads. Although some readers may find Nellie's description of the ocean florid ("The ocean is an old, old man . . . he laughs and gurgles and prattles in the rock pools."), Condra has created a thoughtful, sometimes feisty heroine whose inner vision is more acute than other people's powers of observation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780977814305
  • Publisher: Inclusive Books
  • Publication date: 5/15/1994
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 260,784
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2011

    A great read

    I work in an inclusive preschool and read this book long before I took my job there (partly why I wanted to work with kids who have special needs). My daughter frequently picks this book out to read at night because it reminds her of her friends that she's made at the preschool (the same one I work at).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2002

    For parents as well as children

    I have given this book to all of my friend's children and they have enjoyed it just as much as their children did. It brings tears every time I read it.

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