- Age Range: 4 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Dial Books (August 23, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803738684
- ISBN-13: 978-0803738683
- Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.5 x 9.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles Hardcover – August 23, 2016
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—A man who lives at the seashore has a unique—but lonely—job. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles spends his days watching the waves for a glint of glass and delivering messages near and far. His only companions are an orange tabby cat and a cow. Befitting the slightly melancholy tone, Cuevas's text is appropriately lyrical ("Sometimes the messages were very old, crunchy like leaves in the fall. Sometimes the messages were written by a quill dipped in sadness."). When he discovers a bottle with an invitation to a party the next evening—with no recipient specified—the Uncorker is curious. After asking the maker of cakes, the candy shop owner, several townspeople, a seagull, and a one-man band if they recognize the handwriting (no one does, though they all profess a desire to attend such a party), the Uncorker decides to go to the event himself in hopes of returning the message to the original author. Lightly textured oil pastels in shades of warm tangerine and cool turquoise suggest a dreamy landscape of fog, waves, sand, and sun. But it's Stead's people and animals that tug the heartstrings. Like gentle zookeeper Amos McGee and the patient young explorer in If You Want To See a Whale, Stead's characters exude an endearing vulnerability and quirky charm. Though the impromptu celebration on the seashore at sundown won't necessarily come as a surprise, the message about connection and community is beautifully delivered. VERDICT A perfect pairing of text and art. Share this quiet story with your wishers and dreamers.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal
Praise for The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
TIME Top 10 Children's Books of 2016
People Magazine Best Children's Books of 2016
School Library Journal Best Books of 2016
Boston Globe Best Books of 2016
“Cuevas’s prose is laden with gems . . . gorgeous sentences as precious as the messages themselves. Beauty shines through a fog of sadness . . . Colors—the tawny body of a cat, the red of the man’s Cousteau-esque knit cap—bloom with Stead’s whispery pencil drawings.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Erin Stead’s illustrations are as softly scuffed as sea glass and so suffused with wistfulness that readers ages 4-8 may feel pensive before they’ve embarked on the story.
Michelle Cuevas has reworked a historical curiosity—an official job, in Elizabethan England, of opening bottles that might contain naval secrets—into a contemporary tale of longing and consolation.”—The Wall Street Journal
* "Readers will find both consolation and encouragement on every visit to this emotionally resonant, evocative story."—Kirkus, starred review
* "Stead's characters exude an endearing vulnerability and quirky charm. . . . A perfect pairing of text and art. Share this quiet story with your wishers and dreamers."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "Caldecott Medalist Stead's ethereal spreads give the characters distinctive, captivating personalities. . . . The underlying message about learning to see the worth of every person is a treasure."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
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Top customer reviews
Stead's art inspires the same kind of wonder and energy of possibility. Her depiction of the Uncorker captures a balance between joy and suffering. The character might be lonely and experience a sense of longing, but it is also clear from his depiction that he is very much engaged with the world around him and has a keen sense of purpose.
Michelle Cuevas and Erin E. Stead: Thank you for the story.