Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 8
- Grade: p to 3
- Reading age: 4 to 8
In this gently told picture book, a young girl is unhappy about having to leave the city for a family vacation on the Pacific Ocean (which she used to call the Specific Ocean). As the days pass, however, she is drawn to spend more time in and near the water, feeling moved by its beauty and rhythms. “The ocean does its own thing, rolling backward and forward. Wash, swash, splush, hush. There is no late or hurry or racing in ocean time.” By the end of the vacation, the girl has grown to love the ocean and now feels reluctant to leave it behind. But as she soon realizes, it doesn't ever have to leave her. “Calm. Blue. Ruffled. Gray. Playful. Green. Mysterious. Black. Foggy. Silver. Roaring. White. No matter where I am, this specific ocean will be with me.”
Author Kyo Maclear has written a sweet and evocative love story about the magic and wonder of the ocean. Katty Maurey's softly drawn illustrations maintain the poetic feel of the text, while bringing to life the imagery of the seaside, adding a wonderful richness to the pages. This book would make a lyrical read-aloud that could lull young children into an appreciation for the peaceful joy found in nature. It also presents a compelling emotional component to why conserving our natural spaces is important, and would work well for any classroom science discussion on the environment or on the ocean as a habitat and ecosystem.
About the authors
KYO MACLEAR was born in London and grew up in Toronto as the only child of a foreign correspondent. Her father reported on some significant world events, including recording the first interviews with American POWs in North Vietnam. While Stray Love is entirely a work of fiction, it is informed by her experiences living with her father. Her first novel, The Letter Opener (2007), was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artists Award and shortlisted for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Maclear is also an award-winning visual arts writer and the author of two children’s books: Spork (2010) and Virginia Wolf (2012). Visit her online at www.kyomaclear.ca.
Katty Maurey is a designer and illustrator. She was born in Paris, lived in Hong Kong, and now makes her home in Montréal. She has a degree in graphic design from the Université de Québec à Montréal, and is the illustrator of several other children's books, including Francis the Little Fox and The Specific Ocean.
- Winner, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre - Canada
- Winner, The Huffington Post's Best Picture Books of 2015, Huffington Post
... this is a handsome, evocative look at one child's formative experience.—School Library Journal
The Specific Ocean serves as a timely reminder that the mysteries and wonders of nature can be carried with us, no matter how busy we are.—Quill & Quire
[the] final description of the ocean is rapturous ... A lovely, quiet beach story.—Kirkus Reviews
Maclear and Maurey capture with finesse the mysterious process by which a physical place finds its way into the heart.—Publishers Weekly