cover image The Boy and the Ocean

The Boy and the Ocean

Max Lucado, illus. by J. Lively Fluharty. Crossway, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4335-3931-2

Land and seascapes painted in lush, deep-toned hues illustrate the majesty of creation, which the story compares to the vastness of God's love in Lucado's (Just Like Jesus) latest offering. Unfolding in three seamless sections, this ethereal tale relates a boy's unsuccessful searches for the end of ocean, mountain, and sky. After playing in the waves with his mother, and hiking through a mountain with his father, the boy hears his parents offer a soothing refrain: "God's love is like the mountains, my little boy%E2%80%A6 It's always here./ It's always big. It never ends. God's love is special." Through close-ups of soaring seagulls and long-distance vistas showing a tiny father and son, Fluharty's illustrations convey the drama and dignity of the natural world, while full-bleed, full-spread paintings depict the boy's exuberant dreams (one shows the boy and his dog flying on a bald eagle). In the final section, the boy shares his own understanding of God's love. While the story communicates the spiritual benefits of parents exposing children to the natural world and sharing their beliefs about God, the artwork brings the message home. Ages 2-up. (Mar.)