Old Man of the Sea

Lantana Publishing. Aug. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781911373544.
PreS-Gr 2–In this celebration of the bond forged by storytelling between generations, a young narrator learns of his grandfather’s past as a great sailor. In his final weeks of life, Grandpa shares his fairy tale–like adventures in other continents and out on the open ocean. After spending his young adult life sailing, a storm (and a mermaid) bring his unconscious body to land, where he stays, marries, and has a family. After weeks of Sunday visits, the young narrator wonders, “if Grandpa was inventing stories just to distract me from noticing how frail he had become,” and in this picture book’s final page, readers hear Grandpa’s words: “The land is your grandmother, her stories are your stories, and life, my grandson, is a sailor’s knot: simple, resistant and easy to untie.” The beautiful, digitally rendered watercolor illustrations embrace the adventure, the enchantment, and the wisdom of this original narration.
VERDICT A tender, accessible tale with detailed, bright artwork that could also function as a gentle approach to the topic of loss.

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