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The Sea-thing Child Paperback – November 6, 2000

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd; New edition edition (November 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0744578264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0744578263
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,371,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Moon on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While Hoban's two other entries that resemble this one (Marzipan Pig, La Corona) are both out of print, the good folks at Candlewick press have republished this beautiful book, complete with new illustrations.
It may be debated by some that the old edition of this book, sparsely decorated with b&w sketches perhaps captured the spirit of the story more accurately, however Benson's illustrations are powerful and not at all inappropriate.
As to the story, Hoban has again snuck his metaphysical/omni-spiritual grasp of consciousness into this little volume, but being the subvertist he is, the children he wrote this for will no doubt understand it.
Replete with quasi poetry and moving allegory, 'Sea-Thing' is about a small diving sea-bird child who was blown out of his nest, and his great fear of the wind,the ocean and the storm. There are cryptic messages, filled with emotion:
"...but what if I have no music in me?"
"Need must find," said the sea-thing child.
"Find what?" said the crab.
"Whatever there is," said the sea-thing child.
As with much by Hoban, there is too much that could be said, but without doubt this little book speaks volumes about the fear of being and becoming--seemingly not at all distant from his adultwork.
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Format: Hardcover
I realized a quarter of the way into this VERY LONG picture book that neither I nor my daughter was enjoying it. However, I continued because I figured something amazing was bound to happen. This book has numerous reviews of praise; people are often mistaken. Yes, deep down there is some metaphor to life, overcoming obstacles, or not letting your fears get in your way down the path of life… but could less whiny more affable characters have been used to convey this message?? The seagull was very Zen that is about the only nice thing I can say other than the illustrations were quiet stunning.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted this book when it 1st came out and was never able to find it. When I find found it on Amazon and bought it the story was so wonderful and the book so beaufully done that I had to buy 3 more to give to my children and grand-children. They all love them. This is a must read for any child or adult. It is soulful, sad, happy and heart-warming. This is a very beautiful story.
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Format: Paperback
Lyrical, yes, and nicely illustrated, but cryptic, tortured and interminable, this is no book to buy for kids.

I'm not sure whether much has been lost in the abridgement, but this reads like a junior version of a certain type of tedious French novella which makes you want to put it down and get an outdoorsy hobby.
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