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Mister Seahorse
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About the Author

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has eaten its way into the hearts of literally millions of children all over the world and has been translated into more than 25 languages and sold over twelve million copies. Since the Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than sixty books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote.

Eric Carle's art is distinctive and instantly recognizable. His art work is created in collage technique, using hand-painted papers, which he cuts and layers to form bright and cheerful images. Many of his books have an added dimension - die-cut pages, twinkling lights as in The Very Lonely Firefly, even the lifelike sound of a cricket's song as in The Very Quiet Cricket - giving them a playful quality- a toy that can be read, a book that can be touched. Children also enjoy working in collage and many send him pictures they have made themselves, inspired by his illustrations. He receives hundreds of letters each week from his young admirers. The secret of Eric Carle's books' appeal lies in his intuitive understanding of and respect for children, who sense in him instinctively someone who shares their most cherished thoughts and emotions. E

Reviews

In this original, entirely engaging book, Carle adds to his rich cache of endearing animal characters while delivering some intriguing information about several underwater species. Father fish come to the forefront here-and deservedly so. When Mrs. Seahorse announces that it is time for her to lay her eggs, Mr. Seahorse affably asks, "Can I help?" She then lays her eggs into a pouch in the belly of her mate, who earnestly announces, "I'll take good care of our eggs.... I promise." Then, drifting through the sea, the expectant pater meets up with other fish who are also carrying-or protecting-eggs, such as Mr. Tilapia, who carries eggs in his mouth, and Mr. Kurtus, who has stuck his mate's eggs on top of his head. Chipper Mr. Seahorse gives each words of encouragement ("Keep up the good work"; "You must be very happy"; "You are doing a fine job"). Between each of Mr. Seahorse's encounters, he unknowingly swims by other sea creatures, cleverly camouflaged behind curtains of seaweed, a coral reef and a rock. Yet readers spy all of these hidden critters when they lift acetate pages, adding a delightful dimension to this first-rate fish tale, capped by a winsome, child-confidence-building finale. In his elegant painted tissue-paper collages, Carle innovatively balances pastel hues with shocks of brilliant color, creating an appealing seascape that succeeds swimmingly. Ages 4-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 2-Carle once again successfully introduces his young fans to an interesting aspect of the natural world. Using oceanic hues, he creates a menagerie of fascinating underwater creatures with his trademark painted tissue-paper collage illustrations. After Mrs. Seahorse carefully lays her eggs in the pouch on his belly, Mr. Seahorse gently drifts through the water, promising to take good care of their young while they incubate. As he floats along, he politely greets other fish fathers similarly caring for their offspring and praises their efforts, telling them, "Keep up the good work" and "You should feel proud of yourself." Interspersed between these encounters are scenes where he unknowingly swims past fish that are camouflaged (e.g., trumpet fish hide in some reeds and a lionfish lurks behind a coral reef), and their presence is revealed when readers turn the overlaying acetate pages. Although these episodes do not contribute to the main theme of the story, they introduce a greater variety of sea life and are sure to be a hit with children. Finally, Mr. Seahorse's task is complete and the babies are ready to be born and swim away on their own. Repeated phrases and a balanced structure make this offering a good choice for reading aloud. Although the prolific Carle has produced stronger stories, this one is sure to appeal to a wide audience.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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