"My mother says you can ask the ocean to bring you something. If you look, she says, you might find it," begins this picture book tribute to the sea. While the child covets such tangible "treasures" as sea glass, pelican feathers and a note-filled bottle, her mother "keeps asking for things that are too big to carry home. Sun. Water. Silver moonlight. The sound of waves. Sea turtle tracks at dawn." Frasier's ("On the Day You Were Born") narrative sets the mother's rather impressionistic passages against the child's more grounded listing of the many ocean gifts the child collects. Graphically, the book combines full-spread photos of beach findings and sunlit water with Frasier's fanciful collage-like art. The opening double-page illustration invites readers to view the sunny beach scene along with daughter and mother, the sand stretching before them, hibiscus blooming and frothy waves hitting the shore. However, succeeding spreads are interrupted by grainy, distorted photos inset within the collages. Overlaid on top of these photos, framed in heavy black lines, mother and child are silhouetted with no discernible features, which tends to distance the reader. This jarring juxtaposition makes what would otherwise be a kind of spiritual scavenger hunt at the beach a rather jolting experience for the reader. "An Ocean Journal" at volume's end offers aspiring beachcombers information on some of the sea's fruits. FYI: The book is also available in the Out of the Ocean Treasure Bag and Ocean Journal Package (includes book, bag and 8-page journal)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Frasier worked six years to create this picture book. She took pictures for four years. But it was not to be simply a collection of photographs. Frasier needed to blend her artistic talent with the pictures and the words to give her message. And then to fit it all into the physical confines of a picture book. With an enticing collage of close-up photographs and lustrous paintings poised on a background of sugary sand, Frasier's work is a confetti colored celebration of the gifts of the earth and the treasures that dot the sandy beaches. Scarlet hibiscus and red-veined seagrape leaves frame the pages. Endnotes give detailed information on the environment of the beach and on each of the prizes harvested from the Atlantic. The book offers the most basic environmental message for parents and children: "Slow down. And look. This planet we have been given is spectacular. When we get so focused on our own desires, we forget to look. Once we see the beauty of our earth, we will take care of it.
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
While a young girl and her mother walk along an eastern Florida beach, they talk about beach treasures and the idea of truly seeing. The ocean's gifts are a various lot, from sources both natural and human: each object pictured is something the author/illustrator found on the beach. Frasier is among the fourth generation to be raised in the beach house pictured on the jacket flap and an author's note explains how she created the collage illustrations. Each uses cut paper for backgrounds and flora, photocopied photographs, and real flotsam picked up on her beach walks. All of this is then arranged in a sand-filled box to be photographed. Six double-page spreads, "An Ocean Journal," repeat some thirty photo images and give background on such found treasures as notes in bottles, black skate egg pouches, turtle tracks, driftwood, and burnished glass. Surprising references to history (Cuban refugees fleeing in rafts which later wash up; pieces of Spanish galleons half-buried in the sand) would appeal to the imagination of older children more than the intended audience of early elementary and preschool ages.
Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
PreS-Gr 3--"My mother says you can ask the ocean to bring you something." Frasier evokes the limitless possibilities of a summer beach day and personalizes it through the conversations of a mother/daughter pair. A sense of the ocean as gift giver is projected, registering the beachcombers' hopes and satisfying them when the time is right. In this manner, objects washed ashore, from a wooden shoe to bottles with messages, all seem charged with magic. Frasier incorporates full-color snapshots with cut-paper art. Her illustrations stretch over double-page spreads. Close-up photos of sand provide the background. As in On the Day You Were Born (Harcourt, 1991), the layout is inventive and effective, whether cradling the text or propelling readers on to the next page. Boldly framed silhouettes of the narrator and her mother are juxtaposed onto beach scenes, creating a feeling of depth, a window into a more spiritual dimension. The book ends with a six-page "Ocean Journal" that gives background on the featured found objects: sharks' teeth, sea-turtle tracks, black skate egg pouches, beach glass. A satisfying offering that will open doors for its readers.--Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, MA
Relief for the land-locked comes in the form of this book, which delivers the salt smells and sea sounds that accompany beachcombers right to readers' laps. Frasier ("On the Day You Were Born", 1991, not reviewed, etc.) combines full-color seashore photographs and cut-paper shapes in tropical-colored collages. As a mother and daughter walk the beach, the child is fascinated by collecting material things such as shells, beach glass, a wooden shoe, and shark's eggs. The mother takes in bigger things: the sun, sea turtle tracks, and the wash of waves on the beach. When the little girl protests that those things are always there, her mom explains her secret, "the bigger the thing, the easier it is to forget to see it." A photographic afterword explains the significance of the beachcombing finds that are pictured, from a wooden shoe to a glass float. Frasier also chronicles the life cycle of the sea turtle, whose tracks she saw, explains how notes in a bottle get transported by ocean currents, and reveals which finds are rare. The value of this treasure hunter's appreciation is in the notion that real "treasure" is in the looking.