From Library Journal
Grade 1-4-First published in 1972 as a chapter book, this lengthy picture-book text is slightly abridged and attractively illustrated. A "sea-thing child" washes ashore on a pebbly beach, "a little draggled heap of fright." He builds an impenetrable igloo of sea stones around himself but eventually emerges to develop a cantankerous friendship with a fiddler crab. Becoming restless, the sea-thing child converses with an eel and an albatross, both of which confidently head out to sea, but the ocean remains an enemy to the storm-battered creature. Finally, the wisdom he's absorbed, the goading of his crab companion, and a restless night conspire to awaken his latent destiny and he flies into the wind and over the waves to discover "Whatever there is!" Each spread features large, bold print opposite full-page drawings that make the story accessible to young listeners. By abbreviating many descriptive passages and eliminating repetition, the pacing moves more swiftly than in the original, but a certain elegance and lyricism are lost. At times, the motivation behind characters' actions is less obvious and the brevity results in a more cryptic unfolding of plot. Sea and sand-toned watercolors enhance the hatched illustrations; the sea-thing child, left to the imagination in the original version, is portrayed as an endearing little auklike bird here. While younger children will be attracted to the new format, they may struggle to comprehend the subliminal drama. However, the story itself remains a timeless parable about self-fulfillment that is as pertinent today as when it was first published.
Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.