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Children's Fiction General

The Seven Seas

by (author) Ellen Jackson

illustrated by Bill Slavin & Esperança Melo

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Initial publish date
Nov 2010
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2010
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3


When a young student begins to daydream in the middle of a geography lesson, his imagination carries him away on an adventure — by boat, by train, by mule, and by yak. As he searches out each of the seven seas, he discovers a colorful and hilarious world that no teacher could have imagined. Bright, whimsical paintings from Bill Slavin and Esperança Melo perfectly complement Ellen Jackson's humorous rhymed verse, and an informative section of facts and additional resources at the end of the book will encourage children to learn more about seas and oceans. The Seven Seas will take readers on an unforgettable, rollicking trek to the seven seas and beyond.

About the authors

Ellen Jackson is the award-winning author of many books forchildren, including Cinder Edna (HarperCollins),Earth Mother (Walker), and several non-fictiontitles such as The Summer Solstice (Millbrook).Ellen lives in California. Learn more at

Ellen Jackson's profile page

Bill Slavin has illustrated over sixty books for children, including Stanley's Party, Stanley's Wild Ride, Stanley at Sea, Transformed and The Farm Team. He lives in Millbrook, Ontario, with his wife, their cat, two rabbits, five squirrels and a family of cardinals.

Bill Slavin's profile page

Esperança Melo is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Animation Program and has completed an honors degree in graphic design from George Brown College. She has illustrated and designed several children’s books and loves working in various art forms and media, including sculpting in papiermâché. Esperança co-illustrated Drumheller Dinosaur Dance (Kids Can), which was awarded the 2005 Blue Spruce Award and the 2006 Chocolate Lily Award. Esperança was born in the Azores and now lives in Millbrook, Ontario.

Esperança Melo's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Bank Street College, Best Children's Books of the Year
Kirkus Reviews

"When a young rabbit daydreams in geography class of visiting the seven seas, the bodies of water he imagines are, well, not water! Speaking in rhyme and first-person voice, the rabbit travels by various means — bus to Marrakesh, taxi to Peru, mule to Istanbul, yak to Timbuktu. As he visits each sea, all named for colors, he's surprised at what they actually are: The Yellow Sea is lemonade; the Red Sea is pizza sauce; the Black Sea is licorice. 'The Brown Sea's made of chocolate, / a place to drown your cares. / Its whipped cream foam is home sweet home / to brownish, clownish bears.' His seaworthy journey ends with a clever geography lesson about real oceans and seas. In each spread, the cartoonish rabbit, wearing a blue-and-white striped jumper, joins the silliness; in the Green Sea, he scuba dives amid a broccoli reef, and in the Red Sea, he paddles an upside-down mushroom. The exaggeration of the acrylic, textured illustrations and rhymes create an inventive and humorous approach to learning about geography. Backmatter includes further resources and 'Fun Facts about Seas and Oceans."


Publishers Weekly
"Two contrary impulses compete in Jackson's (Cinder Edna) story in which a geography lesson sends a goofy, bucktoothed rabbit on an extended daydream through several imaginary oceans named after colors. 'The Green Sea has a rocky reef,/ where caterpillars crawl,/ and near your toes the broccoli grows/ until it's twelve feet tall.' But at the end, the rabbit decides to hit the books and encourages readers to do the same: 'Yes, I have seen the seven seas,/ I've checked them off my list./ Can you surmise which ones are lies,/ and which of them exist?' An afterword contains a world map, facts about bodies of water, and exercises. Slavin and Melo (Drumheller Dinosaur Dance) contribute thickly brushed, heavily sculpted spreads whose more fanciful ideas (such as fish made of lemon slices in the lemonade waters of the Yellow Sea) are overshadowed by the comically exaggerated cartoon action. Despite the attempt to wrangle a book built on silliness into an aquatic lesson, Jackson's daydream visions contain pleasing elements (the Brown Sea's 'whipped cream foam is home sweet home/ to brownish, clownish bears') that should entertain."


School Library Journal
"A rabbit with wanderlust starts to daydream as soon as his teacher announces that the class will study the Black and Red Seas. Instead of attending to the real geography lesson, he imagines fantasy seas of different colors ('The Brown Sea's made of chocolate,' 'The Pink Sea has flamingos and cotton candy clouds,' 'The Green Sea has a rocky reef,/where caterpillars crawl,/and near your toes the broccoli grows/until it's twelve feet tall.' Each of the make-believe bodies of water is presented with Jackson's rhyming couplets and Slavin's and Melo's whimsical creatures who surf, scuba dive, sunbathe, and paddle on imaginary oceans and beaches. Only when the teacher rolls up the world map does the rabbit snap out of his reverie and focus on the real task of understanding the seven seas that were identified back in the Middle Ages. . . the geography and science content in the back is valuable, and this title will be a hit where the format of blending fiction and nonfiction is popular."

Other titles by Bill Slavin

Other titles by Esperança Melo