The Boy and the Sea

Camille Andros, illus. by Amy Bates. Abrams, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4940-7
Through a boy who finds himself drawn to the sea below his family’s cottage, Andros (the Charlotte the Scientist books) chronicles a longing for answers to life’s big questions. Bates (Gittel’s Journey) paints a white child with curly black hair crouched at the edge of the surf, listening to the sea’s “whispers,” his ear pressed against a seashell. Prose lines by Andros rock like waves as the child grows older, mulling over never-stated questions, and the sea shares its wisdom: “Dream,” it seems to tell him. And, when he gets older still, “Love.” Expressive paintings by Bates, classic in style, convey drama and motion through mounding clouds and crashing waves (“From time to time,/ the sea was/ dark and dangerous..../ Other times,/ the sea was/ tranquil and tender”). A white girl appears in the pages, then two children; the now-grown boy is a father. “He thought by being grown,/ he’d finally know the answers/ to his questions./ But he did not.” The ever-suspended state of wondering may put off readers looking for action and certainty; instead, the sea offers endless transformations, which Bates portrays with compelling force. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, LK Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/25/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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