Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle

Mister Seahorse
by Eric Carle
Ages 4-8
Topics: fish, fathers

It's time for Mrs Seahorse to lay her eggs. Mr. Seahorse offers his assistance and Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs "into a pouch on Mr. Seahorse's belly". " 'I'll take good care of our eggs,' said Mr Seahorse, 'I promise.' " Mr. Seahorse then drifts along, passing by a number of disguised fish, and having conversations with other fish fathers who are tending their eggs in their own unique way including Mr Stickleback, Mr. Tilapia, Mr. Kurtus, Mr. Pipefish and Mr. Bullhead. As Mr. Seahorse meets each of the other fathers, he has an encouraging word for each of them. It's then time for Mr. Seahorse's babies to hatch and swim off to lead their own lives.

This unusual picture book has some wonderful features. First of all, it will teach children and adults fascinating (and amusing) facts about how these father fish guard and nurse their eggs and young. All the father fish have a unique way of carrying their eggs --Mr. Seahorse in his belly pouch, Mr. Tilapia in his mouth, Mr. Kurtus has the eggs stuck on his head! Mr. Seahorse's meetings with the father fish are alternated with camouflaged fish that are hidden behind an acetate sheet, painted with seaweed, reeds, coral, and even a rock, that you can flutter and look behind. This feature is great for both reading aloud and independent reading.

Children and parents will adore the signature collages of Eric Carle, which he creates by painting and patterning tissue paper to make the brilliant, colorful seahorses and fish. Carle uses a white background with wavy lines to create the ocean backdrop to the story, which provides a crispness and brightness to the seahorses and other fish.

A wonderful story about fatherly love and fish behavior, this latest book of beloved Eric Carle will fascinate children and parents.

Eric Carle is an award-winning author and illustrator. He authored The Very Hungry Caterpillar and illustrated Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.


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