Ocean Wide, Ocean Deep by Susan Lendroth, illustrated by Raúl Allén
Review by Janssen (Everyday Reading)
This book is just gorgeous. It tells in verse the story of a little girl growing up in colonial Cape Cod, while her father goes off to sea on the China trade for a year. As the seasons pass and her father misses major events like her little brother learning to walk, she worries about him and imagines the adventures he's having on the other side of the world, eagerly anticipating the day he'll come home to his little family.
The illustrations are done in pencil and watercolors, with a amazing mixture of strong colors and soft lines.
I love the last page, with a picture of their little wooden house by the sea, with stormy clouds hanging over it all:
"Oh, ocean wide, ocean deep,
hush, my family's gone to sleep.
Our Papa's tucked up snug inside -
you kept him safe, oh, ocean wide."
I think books written in verse can sometimes be a little cheesy, but this one is perfectly done. I think the combination of lovely, quiet illustrations and calm text makes this a perfect bedtime story for young children or a beautiful book to share with family and friends. You could use this book to talk about seasons, about traveling parents, about historic New England, or about sailing and boats. Or you could just love it for no reason other than it's a truly beautiful book.
- Reading level: Ages 4-8
- Hardcover: 30 pages
- Publisher: Tricycle Press (August 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582462321
- ISBN-13: 978-1582462325
- Source: Review copy from publisher