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list price: $4.99
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Audiobook
published: Sep 2013
ISBN:9781459806382

Seal Song

by Andrea Spalding, illustrated by Pascal Milelli

reviews: 3
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adaptations, marine life, friendship
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $4.99
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Audiobook
published: Sep 2013
ISBN:9781459806382
Description

Finn loves to swim with the seals in a secret cove. He arrives at the cove one day and rescues a young seal tangled in netting. Finn wishes the seal could live on land. That night the seals sing. "No good comes from seal songs," says Finn's father. When Sheila, a mysterious girl no one has ever seen before, appears on the cannery docks, the fisher folk are uneasy. They believe the newcomer is a magical selkie, a shape changer.

About the Authors

Andrea Spalding lives on Pender Island, British Columbia. She is the author of numerous award-winning children’s books.

Author profile page >

Pascal Milelli won the prestigious Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for his stunning illustrations in Rainbow Bay written by Stephen Eaton Hume. Born in Madrid, Spain, Pascal trained in Canada at the Alberta College of Art. He now works out of his studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he paints primarily in oil on canvas. His art has appeared in numerous publications, including Harper’s and The Atlantic Monthly.

Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
3 to 5
Grade:
p to k
Reading age:
3 to 5
Awards
  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Award nominee
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books starred selection
  • Short-listed, TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award nominee
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets
Editorial Reviews

"A strong sense of place, sinewy prose, and an unusual blend of workaday life and fairy tale dreaminess distinguish Spalding's (Secret of the Dance) Pacific Northwest fantasy...The oil paintings by Milelli (The Art Room) are composed, mosaiclike, of planes of saturated color that mimic the play of light across the water and the faces of the fishermen. The sober reality of the tweed caps of the men on the docks and the cannery's wooden buildings anchor the story’s magical elements in a particularly piquant way."

— Publishers Weekly

"[This] magical story is one of friendship and devotion...The oil illustrations reel you in, as does the free-verse interspersed throughout."

— Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries

"This story will help children understand how kindness and sacrifice can strengthen relationships."

— Resource Links

"Spalding has intertwined traditional Celtic folklore with the west coast fishing way of life to create an enchanting story about a loyal and, ultimately, life-altering friendship. She writes beautifully, with such powerful imagery and a strong sense of place that the text could easily stand on its own...Milelli's vibrant oil paintings transport readers to the natural surroundings of a fishing community. He achieves a dramatic effect by employing blocks of colour, with emphasis on blues and greens, so supporting Spalding by creating the perfect atmosphere for her beautifully crafted text. An inspired pairing! Seal Song will captivate and entrance young imaginations."

— Canadian Children's Book News

"The storm scenes are skilfully rendered, and Milelli's pictures are particularly vivid."

— Quill & Quire

"The prose weaves gentle magic, but the illustrations command attention here. Softly hued, earthy, watery, the reader is bound to get lost in each one."

— Eastern New Jersey Regional Library Cooperative

"Dramatic oil paintings, particularly effective in their portrayal of the ocean and the selkie, illustrate the bittersweet, evocative story."

— The Horn Book Guide

"The formal text retains the grave and romantic tone of folklore and incorporates free-verse poetry in lyrical songs that echo folkloric rhyme...The design and typography of the poems enhance the emotional cadence and parallel the movement in the underwater scenes."

— Canadian Literature

"Evocative illustrations in oil by award-winning Vancouver artist Pascal Milelli provide a moody, watery backdrop throughout the book."

— BC Bookworld

"Richly illustrated with beautiful, evocative oil paintings, Seal Song is a thought provoking look at what it means to be a friend."

— www.storytimestandouts.com

"Milelli's illustrations are extraordinary. His unique artistic style, with his colour blocks and vivid palette, harkens back to the works of Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso. Milelli's approach allows the reader to bear witness to the natural world with a newfound wonder...Seal Song weaves fishing customs and traditional folklore effortlessly into one tale. Spalding adds depth...by taking a visceral approach to her storytelling. Thus, the reader gains a more intimate perspective into the characters and their experiences. Seal Song beautifully showcases that a friend can take any shape."

— CM Magazine

"A delicate balance of prose and poetry that really grabs the reader...Milelli's illustrations reflect the sea and refracted light of the sun on every page. Coupled with Spalding's masterful storytelling, this art proves that picture books can be as deep and moving as any other book."

— Perogies & Gyoza blog

"The magical elements of this friendship story seem believable in context, and the bittersweet ending is appropriate...The text is set on or opposite Milelli's dark, expressive oil paintings, which focus mainly on the characters, giving only a rough idea of their surroundings. Read aloud or alone, the storytelling and illustrations work well together, creating a memorable, satisfying whole."

— Kirkus Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Seal Song

This dramatic and bittersweet friendship story evokes the wondrous world of traditional Celtic selkie folktales set in a Pacific west coast fishing village. Young Finn rescues and cares for a seal although his father, a fisherman, is disapproving. Then a strange new girl, Sheila, arrives in the village and befriends Finn. The other fishermen denounce her as a shape-shifting seal or selkie, who will only bring ill fortune. When Finn ignores Sheila’s warnings and gets lost in a dangerous storm while fishing alone, she dives into her ocean home to rescue her dear friend, thus transforming back into a seal forever. With rich vocabulary and haunting imagery, the tension of this finely crafted text is heightened by the brooding, colour-drenched paintings. This is a captivating, thought-provoking read-aloud about the joy and pain of friendship.

The author and the illustrator are both won award winners.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Seal Song

Finn, the son of a salmon fisherman, loves nothing more than to slip away to a secret cove to swim with the seals. His greatest wish is to hear the seals singing, for it is believed that this will bring good fortune. One afternoon, Finn rescues his favourite seal by untangling her from old netting. While caring for her he says, “You’re my best friend. I wish you lived on land.” That night Finn hears the singing of the seals for the first time. An unusual child named Sheila appears on the wharf the very next day. Rumours abound that she is one of the seal folk: “The child will never let salt water touch her skin. If it does, she must return to the sea.” Finn befriends Sheila, but notes how she shrinks away from the water. Strangely, Finn and his father begin to catch a record number of salmon. In his quest to take in even more, Finn rows alone into a storm, ignoring Sheila’s pleas to remain on land. It is now her turn to save his life, but by entering the sea her human shape reverts to that of a seal.

Andrea Spalding has intertwined traditional Celtic folklore with the west coast fishing way of life to create an enchanting story about a loyal and, ultimately, life-altering friendship. She writes beautifully, with such powerful imagery and a strong sense of place that the text could easily stand on its own. Feel the suspense and force of the storm from this brief excerpt: “Finn’s boat floundered in the heaving swells. The wind howled, freezing his hands. The rain became blinding sleet. ‘Which way?’ he cried.”

Pascal Milelli’s vibrant oil paintings transport readers to the natural surroundings of a fishing community. He achieves a dramatic effect by employing blocks of colour, with emphasis on blues and greens, so supporting Spalding by creating the perfect atmosphere for her beautifully crafted text. An inspired pairing! Seal Song will captivate and entrance young imaginations.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Seal Song

Finn loves to swim with the seals in a secret cove and rescues one of them from some old netting one day. He helps the seal grow stronger and wishes the seal could live on land. When Sheila, a mysterious girl no one has ever seen before, appears on the cannery docks, the fishermen become uneasy. They believe she is a selkie, a shape changer, and that she will bring ill fortune.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

Other Titles by Andrea Spalding

Behind the Sorcerer's Cloak

Behind the Sorcerer's Cloak

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
More Info
Secret of the Dance

Secret of the Dance

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback Audiobook eBook
More Info

Other Titles by Pascal Milelli

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