cover image The Specific Ocean

The Specific Ocean

Kyo Maclear, illus. by Katty Maurey. Kids Can, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-894786-35-5

With depth and subtlety, Maclear (Julia, Child) writes about a girl who is taken on vacation to a place she resents, warms to, and learns to love. She’s first seen curled up on her bed. “I do not want to go,” she says. “I want to stay in the city with my friends.” But though the water is freezing and the seashore is lonely, this new world begins to enchant her. “I used to call it the Specific Ocean until my brother corrected me,” she confesses. At last, she succumbs. “I want this ocean to be mine,” she says. “Mama has a snowy mountain in Japan, and Papa has the South Downs in England.... If I had my own ocean, I could let my thoughts swim free and dream of an underwater life.” Maurey’s (Francis, the Little Fox) pale gouache paintings shimmer with whites, pale blues, and greens; dreamy scenes of floating and swimming mirror the girl’s drifting thoughts and emotions. Maclear and Maurey capture with finesse the mysterious process by which a physical place finds its way into the heart. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Aug.)