The Sea Inside:
The Specific Ocean

"Happiness is a simple idea when facing the sea" 
Jean-Claude Izzo

It's the start of the summer vacation. A girl doesn't want to leave for the holidays, she likes her routine, her life with her friends in the city.
She is staying with her family in a cottage on the Pacific Ocean (which she keeps calling 'specific' in her mind) where there's apparently not much to do. Just sand and water as far as the eye can see.
After two days indoor, she must deal with her initial resistance and go down to the beach to join her brother. 
As she gets to know the sea, she also learns about new rhythms and sounds, new body feelings and a new pace of life. 
There are no beach toys here, no boat trips, no entertainment. Just two kids in tune with nature and the grandeur of the Ocean.
We see the girl settling into a happy, calm state of mind, that type of understated peacefulness that only the energy and greatness of the sea can instantly inspire.

Splish, swish, splosh, splash. The whole world rushes ahead, but the ocean does its own thing, rolling backward and forward. Wash, swash, splash, hush.
There is no late or hurry or racing in ocean time.
[...] The ocean is so big that it makes every thought and worry I have shrink and scatter.

When the vacation comes to an end it's a swirl of emotions and she doesn't want to leave what she found.
She wishes she could put the ocean into a bowl (which child doesn't?)  and take it back to the city.

 I want this ocean to be mine.

The love for the sea wins over the impulse of possession and as she decides to leave the ocean as it is she also realises that thanks to imagination it will be with her at all times, anywhere.

A simple, inspiring story about the healing and strengthening power of nature which includes a few elements that will very easily resonate with children (the departure, the change of routine, the fear of boredom, and finally the resistance to leave).
Kyo Maclear writing is light, neat and rich at the same time. She has a very original and effective way to talk to children and connect with them while telling about their world.

Maclear's words are gracefully illustrated by Montreal-based artist Katty Maurey.
The images are delicate and airy, almost two-dimensional. The palette of pastel colours includes shades of beige, pink, light blues and moss green and it spreads on everything, merging nature and human beings into each other, to remind us how closely man is connected to the water element.
The beautiful analogy between the sound of the waves and human breath perfectly seals this fine tribute to the sea.

A great book for any child in love with the sea and also for those who still don't know it. 
A reminder for parents about the importance of reconnecting with nature, giving children the chance to explore it without any sort of entertainment, object or equipment.
The Specific Ocean [2016] available here
Words by Kyo MacLear
Art by Katty Maurey
English language edition by Kids Can Press
Reading age: 4+
Themes: Sea, Nature, Emotional independence

No comments

Post a comment

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig