Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
Oliver Crisp was ten when his parents claimed they had discovered everything there was to discover. They should know, since they had been world travelers and explorers since before Oliver was born. He hardly remembered his home since they only spent two weeks of every year living in it. But it was right outside this home he scarcely remembered where they discovered brand new, uncharted islands…a whole cluster of them. So of course, before they even set foot in their house, they took off in their orange inflatable dinghy to look at the largest of the group. They invited Oliver, but he was still busy unpacking his things in his room and didn’t really want to go. Hours later, he realized they hadn’t returned. Looking out his window, he was startled to see that most of the islands were gone! With the inflatable dinghy bumping into the shore, he saw no sign of his parents.
Oliver was not flustered. He packed a rucksack of useful things, hopped aboard the dinghy and took off to look at the one remaining island. There, he met a talking albatross who warned him that the island was about to leave the area. Oliver refused to leave; he was determined to find his parents. The island shivered and shook while it moved away, taking Oliver on the adventure of a lifetime. On this journey, he met some wacky but friendly creatures, and some even wackier ones that were not at all friendly. Eventually he found his parents, encased in clear baubles, captured by a vain and selfish island. Oliver’s new friends were willing to help him, even the sad little island called Cliff.
The author, Philip Reeve, employs a great sense of humor in creating this story. If my children were young again, this book would be at the top of my “read aloud” pile. The tri-color pictures created by Sarah McIntyre complement the light-hearted and silly tone of the story. They are animated and lovable and perfect for this 67-page book. The book would be an easy read for middle graders, and a good challenge for early elementary grade readers. But I believe many ages will enjoy this delightful story, especially if it was read to them.
For me, this book has the classic feel of “My Father’s Dragons”, “Where the Wild Things Are”, and “Caps for Sale”, “The Song and Dance Man,” “Owl Moon,” and “The Polar Express.” A bully is overcome, right trumps wrong, a young boy is a hero and saves the day. I highly recommend the book for your children.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley, on behalf of Random House Children’s Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”