The House that Went to Sea
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.