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Out of the Ocean


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About the Author

DEBRA FRASIER grew up in Florida, in a house where the sandy front steps ran down to the Atlantic Ocean. An award-winning author and illustrator whose picture books include the classic On the Day You Were Born, she now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Vero Beach, Florida.


PreS-Gr 3‘"My mother says you can ask the ocean to bring you something." Frasier evokes the limitless possibilities of a summer beach day and personalizes it through the conversations of a mother/daughter pair. A sense of the ocean as gift giver is projected, registering the beachcombers' hopes and satisfying them when the time is right. In this manner, objects washed ashore, from a wooden shoe to bottles with messages, all seem charged with magic. Frasier incorporates full-color snapshots with cut-paper art. Her illustrations stretch over double-page spreads. Close-up photos of sand provide the background. As in On the Day You Were Born (Harcourt, 1991), the layout is inventive and effective, whether cradling the text or propelling readers on to the next page. Boldly framed silhouettes of the narrator and her mother are juxtaposed onto beach scenes, creating a feeling of depth, a window into a more spiritual dimension. The book ends with a six-page "Ocean Journal" that gives background on the featured found objects: sharks' teeth, sea-turtle tracks, black skate egg pouches, beach glass. A satisfying offering that will open doors for its readers.‘Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, MA

"My mother says you can ask the ocean to bring you something. If you look, she says, you might find it," begins this picture book tribute to the sea. While the child covets such tangible "treasures" as sea glass, pelican feathers and a note-filled bottle, her mother "keeps asking for things that are too big to carry home. Sun. Water. Silver moonlight. The sound of waves. Sea turtle tracks at dawn." Frasier's (On the Day You Were Born) narrative sets the mother's rather impressionistic passages against the child's more grounded listing of the many ocean gifts the child collects. Graphically, the book combines full-spread photos of beach findings and sunlit water with Frasier's fanciful collage-like art. The opening double-page illustration invites readers to view the sunny beach scene along with daughter and mother, the sand stretching before them, hibiscus blooming and frothy waves hitting the shore. However, succeeding spreads are interrupted by grainy, distorted photos inset within the collages. Overlaid on top of these photos, framed in heavy black lines, mother and child are silhouetted with no discernible features, which tends to distance the reader. This jarring juxtaposition makes what would otherwise be a kind of spiritual scavenger hunt at the beach a rather jolting experience for the reader. "An Ocean Journal" at volume's end offers aspiring beachcombers information on some of the sea's fruits. All ages. (Mar.) FYI: The book is also available in the Out of the Ocean Treasure Bag and Ocean Journal Package (includes book, bag and 8-page journal) for $19.95, ISBN -201521-3.

"A warm and exciting book."--American Bookseller
"This book . . . delivers the salt smells and sea sounds that accompany beachcombers right to readers' laps."--Kirkus Reviews
"A satisfying offering that will open doors for its readers."--School Library Journal

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