YOU, ME AND THE BIG BLUE SEA by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

YOU, ME AND THE BIG BLUE SEA

Age Range: 4 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

A mother underestimates her young son’s memory in Fitzpatrick’s (I’m a Tiger Too!, p. 410, etc.) inventive offering. “When you were a baby we went to sea, didn’t we?” Fitzgerald begins, “You, Aunt Alice and me, all three. And a big, big trunk. But you were only a baby. You wouldn’t remember.” The opening spread reveals the Victorian-era scene as the pair share a scrapbook of the journey. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald’s luminous watercolors tell the story from the child’s perspective and reveal what really happened in alternating three-quarter-page spreads and framed vignettes. For example, the baby sees a deck hand drop the open trunk, but the mother doesn’t notice because her back is turned; opposite, stockings and other garments drift to sea in a thumbnail sketch. In the spread that follows (“We waved bye-bye, didn’t we? Then we were away, just like that, without any fuss,”) the baby bids adieu to a crewmember as he falls overboard. The format repeats throughout—mother’s story, refrain (“But you were only a baby. / You wouldn’t remember”) and child’s-eye view. Fitzgerald’s illustrations work in tandem with the text and are notable in their attention to detail. Children will enjoy pointing out the activity in each scene, making this a good choice for lap sharing. Unfortunately, the repetitive text—the very device on which the story hangs—soon wears thin, the set-up condescending. Although the now school-age child is capable of giving voice to his own experience, he remains silent throughout. He’ll have to rely on the audience to do the talking for him. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7613-1691-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2002




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