From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3. In this fantastical nighttime adventure, a boy and his Gram take a moonlit walk on the beach. Soon, they are joined by other family members on an imaginative journey that includes pirate ships, ghosts, and monsters. Drama turns to dreamland when Uncle Pat begins to play his harmonica?a "duet with a foghorn." Zany line-and-wash cartoon illustrations filled with multiple images, textures, and styles accentuate the wildly ambiguous sense of the nocturnal adventure. The portrayal of the characters?the boy in his sailor suit; Gram with her feathered hat and parasol; and Uncle Pat, who resembles a pajama-clad barbershop-quartet singer?suggest this is no ordinary family. Unfortunately, the text is not strong enough to support the madcap illustrations. Literal-minded young readers will not appreciate the attempts at poetic description?e.g., "the moon has tossed a silver net." They may be confused by the story. Is it imaginative play or storytelling or is it really happening? Readers who are sophisticated enough to enjoy the ambiguous nature of the text will want a more developed adventure than this slight story offers. An imaginative idea that falls short of its creative potential.?Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
The ocean is the magnet that draws a family out at night for a moonlight picnic. A little boy and his grandmother tiptoe outside in the dark, to play at being pirates with Uncle Pat, to be spooked by sister Nell in her ghostly nightgown, and to be nearly abducted by a sea monster--Mom. Grandad builds a campfire to scare away real sea monsters, and the family sips juice and munches crackers, listening to Uncle Pat's harmonica music while the moon sets. When the night comes to a close, the young narrator falls asleep back in his own bed, with the barely audible murmur of the sea as his lullaby. The poetic text makes jumps that very young readers will find confusing, e.g., the leap between ``Mom'' and the sea monster. But vivid watercolor washes that superimpose an astronomer's chart on moonglow and a map on Aunt Jane's dress, combined with Helldorfer's many apt turns of phrase, will make readers hear the ocean in conch shells, taste salt air, and recall the feeling of sand beneath their toes as they turn these pages. (Picture book. 5-9) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.