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Kim's Book Reviews
| Home | Picture Books | Traditional Literature | Poetry | Nonfiction | Historical Fiction | Fantasy & Young Adult Fiction | Author Study: Lois Ehlert

by Eric Carle


Carle, Eric. MISTER SEAHORSE. New York: Philomel Books, 2004. ISBN 0399242694.
When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs in the pouch in Mr. Seahorse's belly, he promises to take good care of them. Mr. Seahorse floats gently through the sea, waiting for the eggs to hatch. Along the way he meets other fathers taking care of their babies.
Eric Carle uses his beautiful collage illustrations to teach us some interesting facts about life under the sea. The tissue paper sea creatures, created from a vivid color palette, stand out from the white ocean background containing subtle blue and green watercolor waves. As Mr. Seahorse floats along protecting his incubating eggs, Carle introduces us to many other fathers who are carrying eggs and taking care of children. Interspersed among encounters with other dads, Mr. Seahorse swims by camouflaged fish hiding behind acetate pages. These illustrations do not contribute to the plot, but they provide an interesting aside about how different kinds of fish can hide themselves. They also offer an opportunity for young children to participate in the story as they lift the pages to reveal the hiding creatures.
The simple story is told in a manner that is easily understood by Carle's target audience of young readers, and the predictable structure and repetitive phrases make this a great book to read aloud. This is not quite as meaty as some of Carle's other offerings, but it is still enjoyable to read, especially for Father's Day. The theme, a tribute to fatherly love, emerges naturally as the story progresses, and youngsters will get a confidence boost when they hear Mr. Seahorse tell his children, "I do love you, but now you are ready to be on your own."

Picture Books