Sea Horse, Run!

Tammy Carter Bronson. Bookaroos (www.bookaroos.com), $17 (32p) ISBN 978-0-967-81677-7
In a tender underwater story about valor, false perceptions, and belonging, a sea dragon is rumored to be approaching the coral reef, and a shark, eel, and octopus flee, advising Sea Horse to do the same ("Sea Horse, run far, far away"). Sea Horse, though, refuses to abandon his friend, Coral (the reef): "I can swim away, but you cannot. I will protect you, Coral. I will save you from the dragon!" But when Sea Horse also tries to protect floating Seaweed, the creature asks, "Have you ever met a plant with two eyes and a snout? Look closely. Are you sure I am a weed?" and Sea Horse discovers that sea dragons are not beasts with "fifty rows of teeth," but rather his own relatives. Though readers may be puzzled by the emphasis on running, given Sea Horse's lack of legs, Bronson's prose can be lyrical ("When Sea Horse was not with Coral, he was blue like the sea"). The underwater creatures in Bronson's mixed-media collages vacillate between cutesy and naturalistic, but Sea Horse's personality ought to win over readers. Ages 3–10.
Reviewed on: 07/11/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
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