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Sid Seal, Houseman

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Picture a townhouse on Boston's stately Beacon Hill, where the stuffy de Swine family lives in porcine elegance. Add one impudent seal named Sid, who slipped in for a swim in the master bath and ended up taking on the job of houseman, and you have the makings of a deliciously silly story. Little Waltham, the de Swine's only, lonely offspring, has led a sheltered life--but Sid puts a stop to that. Under his new friend's tutelage, the delighted piglet is hustled out of his genteel surroundings and into a series of scrapes and madcap adventures. He and the intrepid seal enliven swimming lessons at the Y, visit Sid's grandmother at the aquarium (where she teaches water ballet), weather a blizzard (snowed in at a chocolate shop) and save a family of homeless cats from a disagreeable porker named Jasper Rattle. Sid, a sort of Mary Poppins with flippers, even manages to outwit and win over the dour and disapproving Nanny Trotter (who calls him ``fish breath''). When spring arrives and the call of the sea proves too much for an old salt like Sid, he heads north for the Grand Banks, leaving behind a new and improved Waltham, no longer timid. This wonderfully engaging first novel is enhanced by Goffe's fetching line drawings. It's a rollicking good read, and should have grand appeal for middle readers. Ages 7-10. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-- Life is well-ordered, but a trifle boring, for the de Swine family, an upper-class pig household of Boston's Beacon Hill, until Sid Seal, an adventurous old salt, mysteriously appears in an upstairs bathtub. A sudden shortage of household help leads to Sid's employment as the de Swine family houseman. Sid is efficient and proficient at his regular duties, but shines especially as a companion to young Waltham de Swine, the family scion. But then one day springtime calls, and like Mary Poppins, Sid breezes out of town as mysteriously as he appeared. Unfortunately this story has none of the magic of Mary Poppins and her ilk, as the only fantasy element is the characters' identities as talking seals, pigs, cats, etc. Their behavior bears little or no resemblance to that of real animals, and the book is much more on the order of the old-fashioned family adventure story, in which the parents are otherwise engaged while the children, with or without adult caretakers, embark on daily adventures. Perky, black-and-white sketches illustrate moments in the text. The book is divided into 11 short chapters conducive to reading aloud where interest exists; the advanced reading level is too high for the primary graders who will be interested in the story. --Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531083840
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1989
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years

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