The Sign of the Seahorse: A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts

The Sign of the Seahorse: A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts

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by Graeme Base
     
 

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Romance, mystery and intrigue revolve around the Seahorse Cafe, where the beautiful Pearl Trout falls in love with Corporal Bert the Soldiercrab. But Reeftown is in danger, and soon Pearl, Bert, and Pearl's brother Finneus must journey through the ocean depths to find the source of the deadly poison that is destroying the coral reef. Graeme Base's witty rhymes [and]

Overview

Romance, mystery and intrigue revolve around the Seahorse Cafe, where the beautiful Pearl Trout falls in love with Corporal Bert the Soldiercrab. But Reeftown is in danger, and soon Pearl, Bert, and Pearl's brother Finneus must journey through the ocean depths to find the source of the deadly poison that is destroying the coral reef. Graeme Base's witty rhymes [and] dynamic, radiantly colored illustrations.should keep both reader and audience immensely entertained (Publishers Weekly). Base will surely delight his many fans with this latest high-color, high-action, high-density composition.[with] a high-minded ecological message. -- School Library Journal Graeme Base is the author and illustrator of the international bestsellers Animalia and The Eleventh Hour. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As the curtain rises on this Gilbert and Sullivan-like coral reef tale, the beautiful Pearl Trout (``cheerful, quick and bright'') and dashing Corporal Bert of the Soldiercrabs (``a clipped mustache, two eyes, eight boots, one glove'') are falling in love. But the amorous pair must part, as Bert and the Crab Army leave Reeftown to investigate the source of the pollution that is poisoning the area. The problem lies with the nefarious real estate schemes of the Grouper and his henchfish; ultimately, justice is meted out and the lovers are happily reunited. In Base's exemplary verse, perfect scansion and witty rhymes (``the legal licensee'' paired with ``a dollar ninety-three'') blend to create a comic saga of Brobdingnagian proportions. Likewise, the dynamic, radiantly colored illustrations are jam-packed with droll underwater details--all that's missing in this merry marine metropolis is the Little Mermaid. Despite the book's evident craft, however, youngsters may have difficulty here: the tale is lengthy for a picture-book audience, and the artwork's largesse might prove overwhelming. The verse makes splendid read-aloud material, however; nightly recitations of the various scenes should keep both reader and audience immensely entertained. All ages. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This underwater tale of suspense and mystery incorporates a subtle message regarding ecology. The inhabitants of a coral reef are threatened when a shady real estate deal started by the Greedy Grouper floods their area with poisonous waste. Gorgeous illustrations throughout the pages accompany this high adventure under the sea.
Children's Literature - Barbara B. Disckind
Absolutely entertaining, with an environmental twist in its underwater setting of a coral reef, full of challenging words for young readers, and all done in rhyme so wonderful when read aloud. Base tells the story of a greedy Grouper who executes his plan to rob the inhabitants of Reeftown of their homes and money in a shady real estate deal. He is aided in this scheme by the leaking and deadly toxic waste littering the ocean floor. The story includes a cast of characters from goodies to baddies, from the adolescent Finneus Trout, a member of the Catfish Gang, to the bright and resilient Pearl Trout, to the notorious and evil Gropmund Grouper, and to the dashing and brave Corporal Bert of the Soldiercrab Army. The illustrations of this adventure are richly drawn and layered with characters, action, drama, and humor. Children will relate to the basic nature of these creatures, their outfits, and some aspects of their behavior. A keeper!
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-- As in Animalia (1987), Base will surely delight his many fans with this latest high-color, high-action, high-density composition. Instead of an Eleventh Hour (1990, both Abrams) mystery, Seahorse features high adventure, romance, and intrigue, redeemed by a high-minded ecological message. The theme is not as deep as the underwater setting--a coral reef poisoned by pollution--where the all-fish-and-crustacean cast pits a villain, Gropmund Grouper, (responsible for the toxic waste) against Pearl Trout; her brother Finn; and her true love, Corporal Bert of the Soldiercrab Army. Godfather-like Gropmund spawns a nefarious scheme to defraud the reef's inhabitants while destroying their environment, but he and his ``henchfish'' are finally routed by Pearl and Finn's steadfastness (aided by Combat Lobster 46903). Copious light-verse couplets and suitably melodramatic diction convey the fishy plot of this politically correct entertainment. ``Base-ic'' instinct will lure young readers through the bright pages, even if the subpoetic text proves a sinker for some. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
Carolyn Phelan
Best known for his picture book "Animalia" (1987), Base now presents a melodrama set beneath the sea. The lively, detailed double-page spreads show an underwater world complete with a cafe, a bar, assorted good guys, superficially bad guys with hearts of gold, and some real nasties. When pollution begins to poison their reef, the good guys track it to its source and put an end to the evil deeds of the Grouper and his gang. Here's the poetically just ending: "And as for Gropmund Grouper, undisputed king of crime, / He groveled at the kitchen sink, his flippers in the grime. / Beneath a pile of filthy plates, at last he understood, / That Greed Brought only Ruin, and the Tide has Turned for Good." The colorful artwork provides a feast for the eyes, but the rhymed couplets go on and on and on. It's a difficult form of poetry to sustain at length without growing tiresome. Base's best lines, like those quoted, have a flair that does more than just advance the narrative. Still, his writing's not equal to his illustration, and although this is a visual treat, many kids will be ready to turn the page before they've heard the last word.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606198813
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/01/2000

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Sign Of The Seahorse (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My family didnt have a lot of money when I was young, so my sister and I would go to the local library and book store for entertainment. This is one of those books that I would sit down and read over and over again. The younger readers will be captured by its beautiful artwork, and the older readers will be caught up in its whimsical lyrics. I am now buying it for my children, but I secretly can't wait to read it again myself! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was the dumbest book ever. It was a $%@#! $%&@* book