Simple line drawings with watercolor accompany this gentle tale of how young Jamie’s awareness of the life cycle of a baby seal lying on the beach near the boy’s home empowers him to turn back ignorant, potentially harmful tourists.
The book begins poetically: “It came in the night / when the world was asleep, / that strange white stone on the beach.” Jamie discovers that the “stone” is actually a baby seal, and for days, he greets the pup morning and evening, knowing that the “wee seal’s mum” cares for her baby each night. But the pup attracts the wrong kind of attention. An amusing double-page spread shows an aerial view of tourists leaning in too closely over the bemused seal, after which Jamie rushes in with a sign that proclaims, “the seal has a Mum. Leeve alon plees. Jamie.” Jamie’s diligence gives the seal time to shed its baby fur and grow, following its mother’s song into the sea when it has reached proper maturity. Ironically, Jamie’s backyard beach sports the same litter daily, including one of the most reviled human killers of wildlife: a balloon. The text further acknowledges human waste without censure when the pup has to “rock all the way round a broken creel” as it returns to sea. This presents a potent disconnect in a boy (and a book) otherwise environmentally minded.
Sweet, though oddly mixed of message. (Picture book. 3-5)