Review of Off to See the Sea

Off to See the Sea
by Nikki Grimes; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon
Preschool    Sourcebooks    32 pp.    g
1/21    978-1-4926-3829-2    $17.99

It’s bath time for the child we first met in Bedtime for Sweet Creatures (rev. 1/20), and once again the youngster’s mother is the narrator. As in many households, here bath time is an occasion for imaginative play. Together mother and child pretend that the tub is a “soft-scented sea” through which the child swims, evading “monsters” (the child’s rubber ducky), diving beneath the waves for treasure, piloting tugboats through crashing waves. (Meanwhile, the mother notes, “I sneak shampoo into your silky, wet curls” — it’s not all fun and games.) When bath time is over, the mother lets the water out of the tub, and “together we watch the ocean swirl away.” Bold, lush illustrations contrast the cool blues and greens of the imaginative sea scenes with the glowing brown skin of the protagonists. When at last Dad arrives to carry the towel-wrapped child off to bed, the illustration depicts the mundane post-bath bathroom, with a puddle of water and bath toys on the floor, bringing the book’s listeners back to reality and providing a transition to, perhaps, their own bedtimes. Another joyful depiction of family life from this successful author-artist team.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is a contributing editor to The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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