Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone
by Stella Blackstone
Illustrated by Clare Beaton
Topics: seahorses, ocean creatures
In this simple tale, an unseen narrator sees a "secret seahorse deep down in the sea." She tries to swim along with the seahorse as he swims past coral reefs and "flickering fishes", but he is too fast and disappears from sight. The narrator asks the octopuses "where he might have gone", passes by a mermaid and an ancient shipwreck. Finally, she finds herself outside the seahorse's secret cave and is welcomed in.
This sweet poem's regular rhythm and meter make this book a great choice read-aloud choice for preschoolers. The narrative lulls along like lapping waves, even the text is presented in gently waved format. Each line of this undersea journey has its own delightful and unique double-page illustration. The artwork here is truly impressive as the illustrations are "prepared in antique fabrics and felt with sequins, buttons, beads and assorted bric-a-brac." The illustrations are layered felt with neat blanket stitch edges, buttons and sequins become fish eyes and scales, and there are wonderful jelly fish made from lace and brocade. Beaton uses flower fabric and basic stitchery to great effect. The clever, old-fashioned artwork will delight both adults and children.
There's also a hide-and-seek game in this book - can you find the hidden secret seahorse in each spread?
The book ends with educational information on coral reefs and "seahorse secrets", and names and provides a brief description of each illustrated creature. A beautiful book.
Stella Blackstone has written many wonderful books for young children including the Bear series, the Cleo the Cat series, Island in the Sun and Zoe and her Zebra. Read my review of Blackstone's Bear in Sunshine.
Clare Beaton illustrated children's programs for the BBC for eight years and now has illustrated over 50 children's books.
Blackstone and Beaton have collaborated on several other books including I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur, Who Are you, Baby Kangaroo? and There's a Cow in the Cabbage Patch.