Sunday, July 18, 2010

You, Me, and the Big Blue Sea: International Title #1

Author: Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Illustrator: Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Year Published: 2002
Country of Publication: Ireland
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Awards: Bisto Book of the Year [Ireland] (2003)

What did you like/dislike about the book?
Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick's book, You, Me, and the Big Blue Sea, is a mother's retelling of a sea voyage to her young son.  She recalls the events of their voyage, including the sea birds, eating with the captain, and debarkation.  Each page ends with the same line "But you were only a baby, you wouldn't remember."

My favorite detail of the book is the detailed illustrations.  Fitzpatrick does an immaculate job of presenting very intricate and bright drawings.  The scene in the dining room is especially interesting because there is so much going on at once.  I also enjoy smaller, themed pictures on each text page.

I did not like the dismissive way the mother talked about the memories to her son.  Although the child probably didn't remember much from that trip, she didn't have to keep reminding him of his lack of memory.  Perhaps Ireland has different parent-child relationships than in the United States.

This book is appropriate for elementary classrooms.  It can be used to discuss memoirs, parent-child relationships, and sea voyages.

What in your life would have influenced this reaction/response?
Throughout this blog, I am finding that illustrations are important to the way I enjoy a book.  As an early childhood educator, I realize the need for pictures to convey lots of meaning to emergent readers.  I prefer my characters to have a little more relationship than the mother and son in this story.

How does this book compare to similar books/author’s other books?
The author's other titles have similar illustrations.  Fitzpatrick seems to favor simple forms with detailed settings.  Each of her books have a young child as a central character, usually interacting with older humans or animals.

What did I learn about children’s literature from this book?
Aside from possible parental differences between Ireland and America, there seems to be no difference in children's literature between the two countries.  Vivid illustrations can add a lot of weight to an otherwise simple story.

Other titles by this author include:

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