“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

The House that Went to Sea

Book The House that went to SeaWritten by: Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by: Gabriella Klepatski

Published by: Duck Creek Press an Imprint of David Ling Publishing Ltd NZ 2011

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme:  Family relationships, boredom, adventure

Opening Lines: Granny Gale’s house smelt of fish, and rocked with the booming of the waves. Built out of timber taken from old boats, the cottage leaned towards the sea, as if at a moment’s notice it would leap into the water and sail away.

Synopsis: Michael Mariner must live with his Grandma in her house by the sea, when his parents get lost in the jungle. Michael prefers watching television and playing on his computer and doesn’t care for trying new things or playing out-of-doors. Grandma thinks a trip on the ocean might be good for Michael and sets sail with Michael in her little cottage. Michael thinks life on the ocean is boring but Grandma loves adventure. When Michael finally takes a swim he finds a message in a bottle and the adventures begin.

Why I like this: When I saw this book I immediately thought of Melinda and her talk a few weeks ago. She was a guest speaker at our recent NZ SCBWI meeting here in Auckland. Melinda’s talk that day was of her journey of being a published author, a no-holds-bar-straight-up, sprinkled with quirky humour. Rather like this book, where the illustration on the front cover shares the hilarious and quirky captured by the illustrator Gabriella throughout the book of Melinda’s text. Imagine your house floating down stream and catching fish with stockings, not to mention shopping with mermaids, and meeting up with pirates. With each page turn you are wondering what is going to happen next. Most important was seeing Michael’s attitude change from being unsociable and bored, to joining in with his grandmother and their fun adventures at sea. I loved the pencil over watercolour illustrations, the expressions not only on the humans in the story and the mix of greys and blues. Beautifully done, this is a fun read and kids will really enjoy this.

Resources/Findings:  Here is Melinda’s Profile on the New Zealand Book Council… http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/Writers/Profiles/Szymanik,%20Melinda

Melinda’s resource for the book…   http://melindaszymanik.blogspot.co.nz/p/educational-resource-house-that-went-to.html

A great clapping sing along for kids….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NEwPQUFHcc

Here are the words to the above clapping song…   http://www.gameskidsplay.net/games/ClappingRythmsGames/clap_a_sailor_went_to_sea.htm

Here is Gabriella’s profile on the Storylines website… http://www.storylines.org.nz/Profiles/Profiles+I-M/Gabriella+Klepatski.html

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Picture Book Review and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

  1. Looks marvelous, Diane. Reminds me of a film I saw a few years ago about a boy having to go and live with his grandmother in a remote mountain village, albeit they didn’t sail away! If I find the title I’ll message you. I hope I can find this book here.

  2. Joyce Tucker says:

    This sounds really fun…I will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. What a lovely recommendation. Catching fish with stockings and shopping with mermaids sounds like great adventure. 🙂

  4. Darlene says:

    You do find the most interesting books! This one looks great.

  5. ManjuBeth says:

    Great first sentence! It reminds me of a picture book about an old turtle with a house on his shell.

  6. So much to love in this adventure. You do find such interesting books, Who would have thought of a sailing cottage and mystery. It does sound like quirky humor!

  7. Joanna says:

    The title is awesome… and I can imagine how quirky it must be.

  8. oooh – what a fun first sentence. And what a cool jacket image. Hopefully most of our houses will stay on land where they belong, and not get washed out to sea.

  9. Thanks Sue, Glad you like it. I love the first line too. Shows the first line or two has to hook the reader. Here’s hoping no houses got sailing this winter down-under.

  10. Wendy says:

    I was so relieved to read your synopsis! When I saw the cover my first thought was Super Storm Sandy type disaster. This sounds so much nicer. 🙂

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