Review: The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear, illus. Katty Maurey
Source: Digital galley courtesy of Kids Can Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
Expected publication: August 1st 2015 by Kids Can Press
A young girl does not want to go away for summer vacation; she wants to stay in the city with her friends. But after a few days at the beach, she falls under the ocean’s spell and begins to wonder how she can bring it and its magic back home with her. A lyrical, thoughtful look at the deep connection to be made with the natural world.
A quiet book, such as The Specific Ocean, can be just as moving, as feeling, and as sensory as a loud or demonstrative book. I have long been a fan of Kyo Maclear; author of terrific picture books like Virginia Wolf, Spork and Julia, Child. In this latest picture book, she has teamed up with Katty Maurey, illustrator of Francis, the Little Fox, whose work reminds me a bit of Giselle Potter, Carson Ellis and Isabelle Arsenault (all incredible artists).
There is so much to enjoy with The Specific Ocean– a picture book that I hope gets enjoyed by as many readers as possible. Through Maclear’s pitch-perfect verse and Maurey’s drawings, the picture book captures: the rolling emotions of being dragged away on holiday as a child; of despairing how to fill vacation days; of then finding joy in something as grand as the Specific (Pacific) ocean; and of falling deeply in love with something bigger than oneself and too majestic to hold captive.
The combination of Maclear’s unadorned and lulling storytelling voice works so wonderfully here with Maurey’s clean illustrations and restrained palette. During my reading of this picture book, I was taken back to my own childhood memories of time at the beach with my parents and how grand and radiant everything- the sand, the waves, the rocks, the crabs- even the seagulls!- seemed to be.
Overall, I am enamoured with The Specific Ocean. I can safely say that my love affair with Kyo Maclear’s work continues, and that was a pleasure to read another picture book with Katty Maurey’s distinctive and evocative illustrative style. I hope to see many more works from both in the future!
I received this books as a digital galley from Kids Can Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.