Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Ocean's Child

Ocean's Child

Fall 2009 Picture Books
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Author: Christine Ford
Author: Trish Holland
Illustrator: David Diaz
ISBN: 978-0-375-84752-3
Hardcover Price: $15.99
Adrift on a luminous sea, a mother and child wish the animals of the Alaskan coast goodnight in a rhythmic, unrhymed text. ""Safe and snug in his leafy bed, / Baby Otter is rocked to sleep. / To Ocean's child we say good night. / Good night, little otter, good night." Though some may find the text over-long (it covers, in addition to little otter, little walrus, little dolphin, little whale, little polar bears, little puffin, little sea lions, little orca, little albatross, and little seal, as well as the unborn human child who rests beneath the mother's heart), it has a lulling cadence that makes it ideal for pre-bedtime reading. The rhythm only occasionally stutters (albatross gets changed to "bird" in the chanted last line; polar bears and sea lions both require an extra syllable) but it successfully mimics the rocking motion of the boat and the waves that lap against its sides. David Diaz's illustrations-highly stylized animals sets in a glowing blue ocean beneath a sky spangled with northern lights-provide a serene backdrop for this lullaby to life and love in all its many forms.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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