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The Sea Serpent and Me Hardcover – May 19, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 5
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618723943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618723942
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 11.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2—A child narrates her experiences with a friendly sea serpent in this quietly quirky book. The creature drops out of the bathtub faucet while the girl is bathing and the two immediately begin playing and splashing. She puts him in the aquarium next to her bed and, as they converse, she discovers how he ended up in her bathtub and that he longs to return to the sea. She is determined to take him back, but the next day it's too rainy to go out. After a few more days of precipitation, the serpent, who has grown too big for the tub, points out, "the rain isn't any wetter than the ocean," and they decide to make the trek. At the shore, the serpent is reluctant to leave his friend, but she gently assures him that his new adventures in the ocean will be spectacular. The lovely watercolor illustrations are lush with vivid blues and greens, and the bathtub and underwater scenes are full of movement and life. The impressionistic paintings allow readers to fill in details. The text flows well and highlights the strong bond between the child and the serpent, a bond that will hold even when they are oceans apart. A great choice for one-on-one sharing, and as a bedtime story.—Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Slater's lyrical text is accompanied by Chien's delightfully watery paintings in blues and greens...Imaginative and engaging." Kirkus 4/15/08

Kirkus Reviews

"Illustrator Catia Chien's vibrant watercolor paintings reflect author Dashka Slater's lyrical underwater world." The Seattle Times

"The artwork in acrylic and charcoal pencil is as lyrical and beguiling as the prose." San Jose Mercury News

"It's a sweet, fanciful story about an unlikely friendship that seems as deep and real as any human one." The San Francisco Chronicle

"The text flows well and highlights the strong bond between the child and the serpent, a bond that will hold even when they are oceans apart. A great choice for one-on-one sharing, and as a bedtime story." June 2008 School Library Journal

More About the Author

When I was little, I liked to tell stories. Both of my parents are writers, and they used to read me stories, and tell me stories, and my mother even used to draw little picture books that were all about me. I started by telling stories to my mother, who wrote them down for me until I was old enough to write them down myself.

Every week I went to the library and checked out as many books as I could carry. Soon I began filling up notebooks writing my own stories. I sent some of what I wrote to the contests at the back of Cricket Magazine, and several of them were published there.

I began writing poetry when I was seven, and wrote more and more of it as I got older. In high school I took some classes at the local university with the the poet Lawson Inada who loaned me lots of books of poetry and told me that the best way to be a good writer was to read more than I wrote. That's some of the best advice anyone has ever given me.

I kept writing poetry, and won some contests and published some poems and generally got enough encouragement that I never thought of myself as anything other than a writer. After college I began writing for magazines and newspapers, and eventually learned enough about how to organize a narrative to write a novel called The Wishing Box, which was published in 2000 by Chronicle Books and named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times.

My son was born right around the same time, and so I was soon immersed in the world of children's books again, which had always been my first love. Like many parents, I had the urge to write some myself, and so I did. My first books, Baby Shoes and Firefighters in the Dark, were inspired by things my son was interested in. My third book, The Sea Serpent and Me, is based on a story I wrote when I was ten -- it will be released in 2008.

I have continued to write fiction for adults as well, and in 2004 received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, which I used to work on a short story collection. I also continue to write articles for magazines -- you can find my journalism in places like Sierra, Mother Jones, and More.

I write every day, sometimes for children and sometimes for grown-ups, because telling stories is still my favorite thing to do.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The story is lovely, and the illustrations are just beautiful.
Phoebe Caulfield
We took it out from the library & feel in love with it so we had to buy it as a gift for a friend.
A, E & T's Mama
I think we read it nap and bed time every day for a week straight.
S. James

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Phoebe Caulfield on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't believe it when I found this book. My four year-old daughter has always been fascinated by sea serpents, and I was so pleased to find that it is a little GIRL who finds the sea serpent in her bathtub. Not that I mind having her constantly relate to boy characters when it comes to her fascination with stories about sea serpents and dragons and dinosaurs, but it is so refreshing to finally see one about a girl. The story is lovely, and the illustrations are just beautiful. And no pink! Yippee!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Must Love Books on August 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The story here is fun. A little girl discovers a sea serpent and the book follows her journey from raising it, to realizing she has to let it go, to the moment when they part. It's lovely and simple and sweet. Children really respond to the understated emotion of the text and the rhythm of the story. And the book's illustrations are spectacular. Catia Chien has such a unique style and such a sense of storytelling. Every page is bursting with energy, The underwater creatures (the sea serpent included) are full of imagination and whimsy. There are whales wearing bow ties, fish shaped like guitars and an octopus with a top hat. Every time I read this book I discover fantastical new creatures hiding in the depths. But my favorite page is a simple illustration of the girl and the sea serpent facing one another, alone beneath an arc of flying fish. The girl's arm reaches out, almost touching the serpent. The text reads: '"But what if I'm lonely?" my sea serpent asked.' It's a quite page, and the tone is subdued. Then the story picks up again, the whales in bow ties appear, and the girl and serpent finally part. The Sea Serpent and Me is truly a beautiful book from beginning to end and I highly recommend it for children and children at heart everywhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shakespeare Lover on July 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely wonderful book. It is a story about growing up, deep friendship and letting go. I read it to my 6 year old grandson and he and I were both completely delighted by the story. In fact, as the book came to its conclusion, my eyes welled up with tears.
The illustrations are enchanting and the writing is simply perfect....I recommend it to every child, every parent and certainly every grandparent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By somethingsweet on March 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The both the illustrations and the text in this book are extraordinary. The text really reads like something a child would say and can relate to - no tongue-in-cheek descriptions of kids here. Or parents, either. All the actions that our heroine takes seem perfectly logical to a kid. It covered some deep material about friendship and one person having to leave, but wasn't so wordy that my 4-year-old was restless. We loved it and I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Susan Caughey on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Sea Serpent and Me is a celebration of differences between creatures and a marvel of respect that each is what it is and has its own path to follow. There is the strong draw of affection that makes the human child try to postpone a separation with her friend, and there is the abiding love of letting go so the sea serpent can fulfill its own destiny. Their time shared is rich and magical. Their parting brings tears to the eyes along with the grace that allows things to occur as they should. The book abounds with marvelous metaphors and illustrations. This is a tale that can help a child to grow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Fernandez on August 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
...but this book is incredible. I found it at the library and it brought tears to my eyes. The illustrations are lovely, but the story itself is just spectacular.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. James on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I fell in love with this book when I borrowed it from the library. I just had to get my own copy. My son is 3.5yrs old and he loves it too. I think we read it nap and bed time every day for a week straight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Curious City Kirsten Cappy on September 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Alright, to be fair, he is only sulky for a moment. A wee sea serpent lands in a little girl's tub and asks if she will bring him back to the sea. But, it is raining and any girl knows that you do not go to the salty sea in the rain. As the days past and the sea serpent grows as "big as the ocean is deep and as long as the current is strong," their friendship also grows and grows.

The language is delicious and Catia Chien's illustrations send me to the moon and back. You must have a peek at this small, sweet treat.

"He sang me a song about the deep blue sea, where manta rays swim like dancing blankets..."
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