Noah’s Seal

Layn Marlow. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1851-0
Noah, a Black child wearing a red bucket hat, patiently waits on the beach “at the edge of the wild wide sea,” wishing that his Nana’s boat was sailing-ready. But Nana, a Black adult in a sea star–print tunic, is still working on fixing it. Noah wants desperately to see a seal, but since “Nana says they don’t like to come ashore here,” she encourages him to play, instead. When Noah digs aimlessly, dreaming, he soon discovers that the sand he’s thrown behind him looks just like a seal. He decorates it with care (“shells for the seal’s speckled back, spiky dune grass for whiskers”) before a sudden storm washes the seal away—revealing another surprise. From the third-person perspective, Marlow (You Make Me Smile) gently establishes Noah’s hopes. Place, action, and characters are closely observed in both the sensitive text and dynamic, dot-eyed human portrayals as soft washes of watercolor, paired with physical and digital collage, ground the natural setting. Noah’s wish is one that readers will share; watching as it is fulfilled in this sweet intergenerational narrative is a small, satisfying pleasure. Ages 3–7. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/27/2021
Release date: 06/15/2021
Genre: Children's
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