A companion to Lebeuf and Barron’s previous outing, My Forest is Green (2019).
A young tot with short blond hair, pale skin, and a wondrous fascination with the ocean looks forward to spending the day at the beach. Incidental to the text but prominent in the illustrations, the child also uses forearm crutches. Cut paper that’s been textured with watercolor, acrylic, and pencil crayon creates the scenes of pebbled sand, frothy waves, and quiet tide pools. The child sees the ocean as a multitude of opposites. Sometimes it is “big” (with a vast, endless horizon), and sometimes it is “small” (a tiny hermit crab pokes out its head). Sometimes it is “dry” (a large piece of driftwood), and sometimes it is “wet” (a splashing water fight). Lebeuf gradually builds to more lyrical phrases. Sea gulls, whales, and dolphins playfully cavort while a motorboat slides by: “My ocean splashes and crashes / and echoes and squawks. // My ocean laughs and hums.” The real delight, besides the intentional focus on detailed observations, is the ease with which the child’s disability is slipped into the illustrations. At times, the crutches are laid aside, showing the tot swimming, kneeling, or playing in the sand. Any possible preconceived limitations are dashed—instead, childlike wonder and curiosity shine.
A joyful marine romp. (Picture book. 3-6)