Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Buoy: Home at Sea

Buoy: Home at Sea

1998 Picture Books
Ages: All Ages
Author: Bruce Balan
Illustrator: Raul Colon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 0-385-32539-8
Hardcover Price: $14.95
A book like no other is this poetic prose work. In brief chapters, spare in words but rich in content, the author tells the intriguing tale of an unlikely menage-a-trois: a buoy, and the seagull and seal who make their home on and around it. The text has a near mesmerizing rhythm, not unlike the lapping of waves, as it leisurely reveals Buoy’s noble life’s work: to guide big ships and small boats on a safe path through the sea. When a giant vessel passes by, “Buoy felt its thrumping deep inside his belly.” Though his work can be lonely, there are singing whales to be seen, as well as circling sharks and shooting stars. Always bickering, Seal and Seagull provide comic relief. Raul Colon’s masterly drawings, both in muted colors and black-and-white, display a knowledge and love of the sea equal to the author’s. (They also pay homage to many well-known seascapes, notably those of Winslow Homer.) The book won’t be to every child’s taste, but it’s lilting cadence and highly original content will make it a favorite with many.
Selma G. Lanes   ©1998 Parents' Choice

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