What if a boy found a beach ball and kicked it into the ocean? What if two seals found it and began to play? What if a third seal appeared on the beach looking for a friend? Enjoy this visit to the beach and the chance to guess what happens when different choices are made.
Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2010 February #1 Thirty seconds is all you'll need to read this stirring offering, but it will take exponentially longer to fully appreciate. The text "What if . . .?" introduces a brown seal and a gray seal playing in the water until their beach ball bounces onto the sand. "And what if . . .?" accompanies the gray seal meeting a purple seal on the beach. "Then what if . . .?" leads to the two new friends playing with the ball. "But then . . ." reveals the deserted brown seal, looking indescribably sad in the water. Well aware that this is far too weepy of an ending, Seeger then tells the story a second time (the purple seal is left all alone), and finally a third time (all three play together). It's simplicity itself, but the emotions are exactingly executed by careful placement of characters upon the page and the slightest hints of emotions. It's the work of an artist who never overplays her hand, and the brushstrokes and possibly even finger strokes evident in the colorful paint give it an even deeper sense of intimacy. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2010 March #2
In this outside-the-box book about friendship, Seeger (Dog and Bear) pictures a boy kicking a beach ball into the water, and then invites the reader to explore the possibilities of what might happen next. Each of the three stories about three seals is told visually with spare verbal prompts ending in ellipses ("What if...? And what if...? Then what if...?"). In the first two stories, a different seal gets left out of the fun (a closeup of a tan seal's forlorn face is downright heartbreaking), while the third story features all three seals happily playing together. The difference in color between the gray and mauve seals is perhaps a touch too subtle, but readers should be able to keep the animals straight. Seeger unobtrusively underscores each story arc with textured illustrationsâsunlight sparkles on the water, gradually sets, and stars appear in the deep blue skyâand provides a deceptively simple but creative introduction to the structure of stories and how simple it is to be a good friend. Ages 3â7. (May)
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School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2010 April
PreS-Gr 1âA deceptively simple, nearly wordless tale of friendship and sharing. The story begins on the endpapers, where a boy throws a beach ball and it floats out to sea. The next page has only the words "what ifâ¦?" and shows two sea lions playing with it until it rolls onto the beach. One sea lion goes ashore ("And what ifâ¦?"), where a third sea lion joins in ("Then what if...?"), leaving the first one alone and sad. Next comes a page with the word "or," and this time the second sea lion brings it back to the first, leaving the third one out. In the third "what if," the sea lion out to sea comes ashore to join the other two, and the three play together, and then head off, leaving the ball in the sand. Seeger's grasp of children's concerns and ability to visually tell a full story with minimal words is masterful here. She captures the complexity of friendship and sharing in a way that will speak to kids and invite discussion. The illustrations are saturated with color. The sea lions are depicted with minimal lines, yet still imbued with personality. The artist marries the charm of her "Dog and Bear" books with the thick color washes of First the Egg (2007, all Roaring Brook) to create something new and yet familiar. This book is perfect for parents and teachers looking for books on interpersonal relationships, or just a great book to share.âAmy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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