Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sea Creatures from the Sky

By Ricardo Cortés
Black Sheep/Akashic     2018
48 pages     Picture Book

I read Sea Creatures from the Sky aloud to the most discerning audience possible, my 5- and 6-year-old grandchildren. The children had insightful reviews of the book, and I will include their thoughts in my look at the book. The book was released on April 3.

This is a gorgeously illustrated view of the world by a shark. It begins, “This is a tale of no one believing something that is entirely true” and that philosophical view continues as the shark views his world and the world above the water. It includes the shark being caught by a pair of marine biologists, who measure him, probe him, tag him, and then throw him back into the sea. 

First, both children needed to be told that the shark was telling the story. After that, they had a different perspective about the book, and laughed in different places than they might have had they continued to look at the story from their own perspective. Davick (5) shouted at the beginning, “It’s about a shark!” and he also enjoyed naming the different fish that were in the illustrations. Adela (6) loved that the story was in rhyme, and they both enjoyed it when the biologists caught the shark on a line with a fish for a lure.

We discussed how everyone has a different view of the world. This, of course, is a hard concept for children, and I think that reading this book to a classroom of first or second graders would engender quite a bit of philosophical conversation. Additionally, it might be a good book for a science class. My grandson loves to read about animals and he found the pictures very appealing. Adela, the first grade reader, found that she could read the entire book, which made her very proud.

Truly, the illustrations are beautiful—far more beautiful than the writing, which tends to be good for giggling—which both children did as I read it. Together it made a great package, which we all enjoyed. 

Cortés is the author/illustrator of several children’s picture books, but most famously, he is the illustrator of Go the F—k to Sleep, the bestselling adult parenting book and it’s children’s counterpart, Seriously, Just Go to Sleep.

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