Eric Carle, . . Philomel, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24269-4
In this original, entirely engaging book, Carle adds to his rich cache of endearing animal characters while delivering some intriguing information about several underwater species. Father fish come to the forefront here—and deservedly so. When Mrs. Seahorse announces that it is time for her to lay her eggs, Mr. Seahorse affably asks, "Can I help?" She then lays her eggs into a pouch in the belly of her mate, who earnestly announces, "I'll take good care of our eggs.... I promise." Then, drifting through the sea, the expectant pater meets up with other fish who are also carrying—or protecting—eggs, such as Mr. Tilapia, who carries eggs in his mouth, and Mr. Kurtus, who has stuck his mate's eggs on top of his head. Chipper Mr. Seahorse gives each words of encouragement ("Keep up the good work"; "You must be very happy"; "You are doing a fine job"). Between each of Mr. Seahorse's encounters, he unknowingly swims by other sea creatures, cleverly camouflaged behind curtains of seaweed, a coral reef and a rock. Yet readers spy all of these hidden critters when they lift acetate pages, adding a delightful dimension to this first-rate fish tale, capped by a winsome, child-confidence-building finale. In his elegant painted tissue-paper collages, Carle innovatively balances pastel hues with shocks of brilliant color, creating an appealing seascape that succeeds swimmingly. Ages 4-up.
Reviewed on: 03/15/2004
Board Books - 64 pages - 978-0-399-25490-1
Hardcover - 978-7-5332-6673-8
Library Binding - 35 pages - 978-957-762-380-5
Paperback - 34 pages - 978-0-14-056989-6