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See the Ocean


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Despite an overwrought climax, this debut effort for author and artist manages to distill some truths about growing up blind. Nellie enjoys her family's annual trips to the ocean. She feeds crumbs to the seagulls, tosses pebbles into ponds, handles seashells and driftwood. There is no explicit reference to her blindness until the end, when she claims to be able to see the ocean through a thick mist. For three precocious paragraphs, she rhapsodizes: ``The ocean is an old, old man born at the beginning of time.... When the sun shines, he laughs and gurgles and prattles in the rock pools....'' One of her brothers complains about Nellie's report (``She can't even see!"), but their mother concludes: ``Though your sister's eyes are blind, she can see with her mind.'' However ham-handed the dialogue, this title's tone of normalcy, its realistic family dynamics and its moody, streaky oil paintings may be enough to win over readers curious about life without sight. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)

K-Gr 3-A gentle story about a little girl and her family and their annual visits to the beach. It is there where Nellie plays in the water, learns to walk, and is told stories about the sea. Her brothers always have a contest to see who can see the water first, but not Nellie. Why? Readers discover the reason when one year it is very foggy and the boys cannot see the ocean, but Nellie announces that she can see it and describes it as a man with a white beard and feet made of shells. Their mother tells the boys that their blind sister can see with her mind. The story is beautifully done as well as nicely illustrated with oil paintings of the seaside and the family, always hiding Nellie's eyes with a hat. The little girl may seem overly romanticized, but her activities at the beach and her lovely description make up for it.-Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA

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