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MISTER SEAHORSE by Eric Carle Kirkus Star


A Pantomime in Two Acts and a Colophon

by Eric Carle & illustrated by Eric Carle

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-399-24269-4
Publisher: Philomel

The striking single seahorse gracing the cover of this tribute to aquatic fatherhood could never be mistaken as anything other than one of Carle’s consummately creative collage creatures. The graphically arresting cover leads to rows of baby seahorses swimming across the endpapers and then on to a wonderful variety of jewel-toned fish set against white backgrounds with just the suggestion of pale blue and green waves in bold strokes of watercolor. The star of this underwater show, Mr. Seahorse, swims through his underwater home as he carries the eggs that Mrs. Seahorse has laid. He greets other fathers that are carrying eggs or caring for their young, complementing each fish on his fine work. The father fish alternate with other kinds of fish that Mr. Seahorse doesn’t see because they are hiding behind camouflage elements such as seaweed and coral, which are overprinted on clear acrylic pages. These camouflage pages illustrate how different kinds of fish can hide themselves, but as each of these special pages is turned to cover Mr. Seahorse, the reader sees how he can hide himself as well. The simple, thoughtfully told story includes repetitive phrases and a predictable structure with an emotionally satisfying ending as Mr. Seahorse sends his babies out into the watery world. (Picture book. 2-6)