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What the Sea Saw

What the Sea Saw

by Stephanie St. Pierre, Beverley Doyle (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Many books take us to the seashore with visually enriched, informative words, but St. Pierre's succinct text with only a few lines per double page, poetically and magically evokes the mood of the scene, telling us not only what the sea saw above, but what the sky saw below. A gull shoots from the sky; it sees the fish, "scales shimmering silver." We go "down in the deep..." The sea crashes against the rocks. On the beach and the shore are other creatures. Finally the moon rises, then the sun: "Sky above. Sea below." Doyle exploits the smooth translucencies of airbrush to emphasize the spirituality of the interconnectedness of the sea's ecosystem. The illustrations are naturalistic but designed to project the strong emotional and esthetic qualities of the forms, as a gull's smooth wide-spread wings challenge the rough whitecaps of the ocean below, or close-up, a trio of sandpipers strut by before a background of wind-sculpted sand dunes and a cloud-streaked sky. Front and back endpapers frame the treat to come. Following the text is a factual summary of ecological information on the water, shore, and dunes, and a useful bibliography. 2006, Peachtree Publishers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Even though there are nearly as many seaside books as the proverbial grains of sand, this offering is still a welcome addition. St. Pierre's words paint pictures of a beachside ecosystem, from the dunes to the water's edge to the ocean itself, as seen from different points of view: "What the sea saw was sky above./What the sky saw was sea below./The sea saw/a gull shoot from the sky/leaving the wind empty...The gull saw/fish in the sea swimming in schools,/scales shimmering silver." The text is evocative, but Doyle's double-page paintings are the stars of this collaboration. Done in airbrush on illustration board, they stunningly capture the light on water and sand, the colors of sea and sky, and the peaceful calm of moonlight. From whale and fish, to gull and sandpiper, to fox and spider, the images of the animals are both realistic and enchanting. Like Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder (1957) and One Morning in Maine (1952, both Viking), this book will transport readers to a favorite beach. The experience concludes with a three-page section that provides more information about this ecosystem. What the Sea Saw brings a habitat to life through magical words and artwork, and is worth visiting again and again.-Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"What the sea saw was sky above / what the sky saw was sea below." This simple beginning introduces a profound concept-the interconnectedness of all life-at a level preschoolers can understand. A gull darts from sky to sea to catch a fish; the fish dive to deeper waters full of seaweed, crabs and sharks. Plants, insects and starfish populate the water's edge. Then the rain falls, and the sky becomes the sea. The language is both poetic and direct (the gull leaves "the sky empty"); the finely drawn watercolor illustrations capture movement and light in oversized double-page spreads that bring the scenes up close. Three pages at the back explain ecosystems and ocean and beach habitats in some detail, and offer "eco-tips" on protecting the land. (bibliography) (Picture book. 3-8)

Product Details

Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.30(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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