illustrations by Robert Van Keirsbilck
  • Children's & Teen

Joanna L.C. Meyers

Joanna Meyers graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Economics. She is the spouse of a retired Coast Guard Commander, who as a cadet, was one of the last Objee bear keepers. Joanna is also mother of a current Coast Guard Academy cadet. At one Academy football game, she proudly served as mother to the new, less objectionable, costumed mascot Objee.
Joanna lives with her family by the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Visit to learn more about the book or to schedule  ...See more >

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"A wholesome often charming example of children's historical fiction."

Kirkus Reviews


ISBN: 978-0988999701
Page count: 30pp

In this fun historical picture book, three children enjoy a silly story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s pet bear.

Grace, Charlie and Henry ask their grandfather to read them their beloved book, The Legend of Objee. As he reads the illustrated tale, the children occasionally stop to imitate the silly behavior of the main character: a pet bear. Objee, short for objectionable presence, is rescued by Cadet Evans and brought to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to serve as a mascot. Hijinks begin as soon as Objee is sworn in as a cadet herself; the bugles of the call to colors send her scrambling up a tree, where the academy’s superintendent hears her whining. Objee spends her days exercising with the cadets and chewing their books (here, little Charlie gnaws a book for laughs until Grandfather stops him), but the pristine cadets have trouble having a “stinky” bear in their company. One morning, Cadet Evans is found sleeping next to Objee with the buttons from his cadet jacket missing. (Grandfather explains that Objee ate the buttons, thinking they were berries.) The bear also serves as a mascot at football games; an attempt by the rival team to kidnap her goes awry when Objee begins to eat her kidnappers’ van from the inside out. Other events in Objee’s life seem a bit cruel; for example, cadets bribe her to enter the shower before the water is turned on, which makes her angry. Grandfather, however, explains that Objee embodies the “strength, character and devotion” of the Coast Guard. Simple, realistic illustrations accompany the text, showing Objee in her all of her mischief, but some show inconsistencies. For example, the story reads that Objee would consider anyone “not dressed in Coast Guard blue” as an intruder, but a Marine she startles on the next page is wearing blue. A final page features photographs of the real-life Objee, giving background to the “legend.” However, some vocabulary—words such as “suspiciously” and terms such as “brig”—may be slightly advanced for very young readers.

A wholesome, often charming example of children’s historical fiction. 

Page count: 29pp

A brave baby penguin joins the U.S. Coast Guard in this fanciful celebration of the military branch from team Meyers and Van Keirsbilck (The Legend of Objee, 2013).

A mother and father penguin are proud of their son-to-be, still inside his egg. When the adorably puffy penguin chick hatches (in a painting by Van Keirsbilck sure to make readers say “Awww!”), he begins to develop a strong sense of adventure. Warned to stay away from Seal Rock, the baby penguin is sure he can outswim any old seal. When he dares to try it, his worried mother races to the water only to find her son proud of his own accomplishments. Soon, baby penguin is off on another adventure: mountain climbing. From atop the mountain, he discovers the Coast Guard icebreaker Eastwind, and though he’s initially frightened, he soon warms up to the crew, listening to their stories of brave rescues. When baby penguin eventually returns home, he learns his parents went up the mountain to find him, and now they need a rescue! Leading the penguin team and joined by his brave Coast Guard shipmates, he rescues his parents and leaves home to join further Coast Guard rescues. Meyers’ text is dense, with challenging vocabulary words for emerging readers (“tobogganed,” “gang plank”), but Van Keirsbilck’s penguin paintings will entice animal lovers, and his mixed painted and drawn images of the Coast Guard may inspire interest in that organization.

A clever spin on coming-of-age adventures with Antarctic appeal.