Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Specific Ocean

The Specific Ocean
by Kyo Maclear
Illustrations by Katty Maurey
Kids Can Press, 2015. Picture Book. 

A little girl objects to her family’s summer vacation to the beach, much preferring she get to stay with her friends. Despite her protests, she is dragged along to the Pacific coast. The girl is miserable, and finds every flaw she can in the beach, the ocean, and their vacation home. She even stays in the house, claiming “I’d rather do nothing.” But upon actually visiting the beach, the girl has a change of heart and falls in love with what she calls the “Specific Ocean.” She wishes to keep some of the ocean for herself, and imagines the ways she could smuggle it home. Her brother tells her that it would be selfish to steal away with any of the ocean, and so she returns home with only her fond memories.

With autumn arriving, this book is a perfect choice for those readers who want to hold onto their memories of summer. Maclear’s poetic voice is lovely when paired with Maurey’s gentle illustrations, and this story has the delicacy of a perfect bedtime story. The young girl’s story may also help readers who are struggling with change, or needing to do something they do not like. For that child who hates going to school or eating healthy, this book reveals that the experiences we dread can become memories we cherish.

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