Book Review: The Specific Ocean

The Specific Ocean
The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This sweetly quiet story of a little girl who slowly falls in love with the Pacific Ocean brought me a sense of wonder! At the beginning the girl is reluctant to get in the water, but she gradually comes to love playing in and around the ocean. Her dreamy observations and imaginings around the seaside are just lovely, and bring the reader immediately into the story. You can taste that salt air and feel the waves pulling at your feet!

The writing is absolutely brilliant! Every word is tailored perfectly for that sentence to say exactly what it should, but it never feels forced or like it’s trying too hard. Each sentence flows to the next with the rhythm of ocean waves.

The words are so rich and vibrant too! “Grumping down the path” perfectly describes a child walking grumpily, even though “grumping” is not actually a word, I think. No matter, because it is just the RIGHT word, whether it exists or not. There are perfect words like that on every page of this book!

What a delight it would be to read this book aloud! The sounds of the words roll off the tongue and down the lips like drops of water splashing off a wave… “Shine, shimmer, gleam, glow…” and with four words, I can see the seashore in my mind’s eye.

I love that the girl mistakenly calls it the “specific ocean” instead of the “pacific ocean”, but decides that the former name is more appropriate after all. I have heard kids say it wrong all the time, so it rings true and touches my heart. Details like that are what make this book so special!

The illustrations fit the story like a glove. Calming colors and smooth lines leave me feeling soothed and dreamy. Warmth and light shine from every page!

There is magic in this book! Undeniably, this is a masterpiece of children’s literature.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. The opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

View all my reviews

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