Books·Canadian

My Ocean is Blue

A picture book by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron.

Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron

A young girl's poetic exploration of the enchanting ocean she loves. "This is my ocean," the young girl begins as she heads over the dunes with her mother. Then, as they pass the whole day at the seaside, she lyrically describes her ocean in simple, sensory detail. It's both "slimy" and "sandy," "sparkly" and "dull." It has wonderful sounds, as it "splashes and crashes and echoes and squawks."

And it contains so many colours, from "rusted orange" to "runaway red," "faded white" to "polished green." Though "mostly it's blue." Nothing the girl experiences escapes her careful observation and appreciation. And at day's end, she can't wait for her next trip to the beach. Author Darren Lebeuf, an award-winning photographer, uses spare text and a rhythmic style to create an evocative read-aloud.

The vivid adjectives, both concrete and abstract, will inspire children to try to capture in words what they notice not only at the ocean, but in any natural setting. The bright, richly coloured cut-paper collage illustrations by Ashley Barron add a captivating visual texture and depth to the story.

The portrayal of a girl with a physical disability enjoying and actively participating in a day at the beach encourages all children to do the same in their own lives, while also offering a character education lesson in adaptability. This book has strong curriculum ties to primary nature units and life science lessons on oceans and the seaside, and it offers a perfect focus for nature-based education and outdoor classrooms. (From Kids Can Press)

Darren Lebeuf is a Vancouver-based award-winning photographer and writer. He is the author of My Forest is Green and My Ocean is Blue.

Ashley Barron is a Toronto-based illustrator specializing in cut-paper collages. Her work has appeared in children's books, newspapers, set designs and shop windows.

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