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

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

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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

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140563870
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
06/28/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
547,325
Product dimensions:
10.31(w) x 11.81(h) x 0.19(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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