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About the Author

G. Brian Karas was born in Milford, Connecticut. After graduating from Paier School of Art with highest honors, he worked as a greeting card artist at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. After three years he moved to New York and began freelancing as a commercial illustrator. His first illustrated book was published in 1983 (Home on the Bayou, which won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor), and he has since illustrated more than 50 books for children. His first book as an author-illustrator received a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor in 1997.


K-Gr 2-In this large, square volume, Karas's crafty combination of wit and naivete offers viewers intriguing and amusing marine perspectives. "I am the Atlantic Ocean I begin where the land runs out at the end of yards and streets and hills." The poetic tribute begins just over the hill in a childlike drawing of a youngster riding a bicycle past crudely sketched houses. The simple celebration of sandy beach and salty smell quickly moves far out to sea. "I rub shoulders with North America and bump into Africa I slosh around South America and crash into Europe." There's an occasional comma, but never a period in the meandering reflection. Many beguiling touches emerge in the broad paintings with Karas's characteristic flat figures of people and animals. Faint lines of latitude and longitude or the face of a compass appear in the water, and the shadow of a plane mingles "with skates and whales and fish that fly." An intriguing set of curved arrows encloses snips of scenes on white pages, suggesting the water's circuitous travel from continent to continent. Where "Artists paint pictures of me with cerulean, cobalt and ultramarine," bands of these shades carry phrases quoting well-known poets. In the end, the book is also a lesson about preserving the ocean waters, strongly stated in brief concluding notes. The oblique, poetic references will be best understood by those readers with a bit of background in geography and science.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"An excellent beginning to an elementary-school unit on oceans. A lovely departure for the artist whose work usually makes readers laugh out loud." -Kirkus Reviews

"I am the Atlantic Ocean," announces the watery narrator of this artistically intriguing but sometimes confusing book. The first-person narrative enumerates facts ("The sun/ so many millions of miles away/ heats my water,/ which turns into clouds and storms") and an afterword ("Some Things About Me") registers a plea for the care of the oceans. The Atlantic's voice is child-centered ("I stretch from the icy poles/ North and South/ I rub shoulders with North America/ and bump into Africa"), and Karas populates the gouache, acrylic and pencil illustrations with wistful, cartoon-like children. However, both art and text often require some sophistication and prior knowledge for understanding. For example, young readers may not have the historical dexterity to comprehend why a 19th-century schooner appears next to a modern ship or why the accompanying text declares, "First I was discovered/ (even though I was here first)/ and then conquered." Skewed perspectives and textured layers of color keep the paintings varied and interesting, but the abstract viewpoint and relative size of objects seem unnecessarily puzzling. The author ameliorates the recitation of facts with the occasional interjection of folksy humor ("That salty smell is me too") but the levity creates an inconsistent tone overall. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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