“Some years ago, a boy named Thomas” spends a summer collecting fragments of sea glass and dreaming of their origins.
Photorealistic watercolor illustrations depict both mid-20th-century Maine’s dappled rocks, glinting waters, and lucid sunlight and also a grandmother’s entreating, tender smile and a grandson’s eager, earnest eyes. Thomas skips rocks and scans the shore, wholly absorbed in exploration, discovery, and imaginative play. His grandfather’s magnifying glass brings the bits and pieces given up by the ocean into focus. These masterful, moving watercolor pictures transmit feelings and features so faithfully they feel somehow deeply personal. The boy’s dreams, which trace his various sea-glass finds back to the events that made them shards in the ocean, appear as full-bleed, double-page spreads in gradations of gray. Even though set in the monochromatic past, these historical scenes (a ship’s christening, a schooner tossed in a tempest’s fury) still appear startlingly clear, specific, and realistic. Young readers might play with the idea that Thomas’ dreams transmit actual historical events, turning this inexplicable impossibility over in their minds again and again like a piece of glass tumbling in the tide. When a present-day girl hands her Papaw Tom a piece of clear sea glass she finds, one that could have come from a broken magnifying glass decades before, the past and present converge. Thomas and his family all present white.
A celebration of small miracles. (Picture book. 5-10)