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Mister Seahorse Hardcover – April 26, 2004
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Most of Carle's books employ some sort of gizmo or gadget--and this one is no exception. Here, for a splendid lesson in camouflage, colorful acetate sheets mask marine life that is revealed as the child turns the page. Children may take comfort in the devotion of these undersea fathers...except perhaps at the very end when the father seahorse says to a freshly hatched sea-pony who wants back in the pouch: "I do love you, but now you are ready to be on your own." (Preschool) --Karin Snelson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Given the commentary of many of the reviewers on the father fish "babysitting" the baby fish....If you do look to nature, many animals (and many male animals) do abandon their offspring...so I saw the book more as personifying family in nature rather than making a sexist commentary on fatherhood, patriarchal society, or gender roles in parenting.
Likewise, with older children, it could be a great springboard for discussions on responsibility and caring. I plan to use it in this manner in my 3rd grade class this year. It's at this point a person could discuss the phrasing, and talk about the parental role--moms and dads both babysit at times while the other does an errand...and "babysit" is a term children understand.
Perhaps at times, we can get so caught up in being politically correct, that we miss the forest through the trees, or miss a great book on an over-exaggerated technicality that's taken too seriously.
One day, Mrs. Seahorse becomes preggers. As is the seahorse custom, she promptly deposits her eggs in Mr. Seahorse's pouch. With the eggs safely ensconced there, Mr. Seahorse goes about his daily rounds. While out, he comes across Mr. Stickleback, Mr. Tilapia, Mr. Kurtus, Mr. Pipe, and Mr. Bullhead. Each fish has his own distinct way of caring for his born and unborn young. For example, Mr. Bullhead baby-sits (admittedly, Carle could have used a better term for this) his newborn hatchlings while Mr. Tilapia carries his young's eggs around in his mouth. Kids reading this book with their parents have the added pleasure of watching Mr. Seahorse as he approaches single fishies hiding in seaweed, behind coral reefs, and in small patches of reeds. In these scenes the page becomes translucent plastic, the reeds, reefs, and seaweed a beautifully painted scene overlaying the action. In the end, Mr.Read more ›
Carle's signature style of illustration captures the delight of my children and of me, too.
I personally laughed at the "babysitting" comment of one of the fish dads. How many times have I heard my friends complaining about fathers terming the time they spend alone with their children as "babysitting"?
Perfect time for the parent reading the book to laugh with the child and say "He isn't babysitting, he is Daddying!"
I learned a couple great "fishy" lessons from this colorful book. Great to read after watching "Finding Nemo." another favorite in my family.
What make this particularly interesting is that it's all about marine life where the males handle the eggs and not the females.
I found that wonderfully educational to show my kids different sea creatures where the dads carry around the eggs in many many different ways. In their mouths, on their bellies, in pouches etc. until they hatch. I was surprized and loved to see and explain that!
It's a simple concept, whereby if a mom sea creature were to be introduced it would not only physically complicate the illustrated pages, it would also distract from the simplicity of the storyline.
So where are the moms? Does it matter? There's references galore as to how happy the Mrs. must be. This book doesn't suggest single parenting, alternative lifestyles, or anything other than the simple reckognition of marine species caring for their offspring completely different than animals and people and illustrating the differences to children in a simple and eye opening way. It's a "well what do you know"! "Look at how that one does that"! for preschoolers. Simple concepts.
4 stars for refering to one sea creatures particular parental duty as "babysitting" not parenting...
BUT on a very simple note, just tell your child as I did, "oops, that should be parenting and not babysitting because parents can't babysit their own kids, that's their job" NO BIG DEAL. It's pretty darn easy to use some parental wisdom to make that correction. It brings up 2 more lessons. Nobody is perfect and everything that's in print isn't neccesarily the truth (well, an older kids lesson). Eric Carle is an older gentleman.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cute book that goes into the roles of fathers and carrying babies. It is colorful and different and I think a great book to add to a kids library. Read morePublished 4 days ago by David Murdza
The subject of this book is unique and I love that it celebrates fatherhood. I echo other commenters' frustrations regarding one daddy fish talking about "babysitting" his... Read morePublished 5 days ago by RSG
Sturdy, enjoyable board book. Nice thick good quality pages! Just what I was looking for!Published 1 month ago by Crystal Marie
I adored studying the Eric Carle textbooks
I adored studying the Eric Carle textbooks to help my youngsters whilst still being get most. Read more
FANTASTIC book with wonderful overlays! This offers a different perspective on parenthood. Brilliantly written and illustrated. One of my FAVORITE Eric Carle books.Published 4 months ago by Sandy