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Off & away
2018
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Summary
How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It's Jo's dad's job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own.
With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2-This affecting tale begins, "Out at sea, there is a place where all the messages in bottles gather." It's Jo's dad's job to gather them and get the messages to their recipients. He always has marvelous adventures and Jo would love to join in, but she's too scared. Her visions of the terrifying creatures that lie in wait below the surface are so over-the-top that she's afraid she'll never return. Jo is forced to face her fears, however, when her dad is too sick to make his deliveries and the bottles are piling up. Of course, every fear the little heroine has turns out to be unfounded, and she even gets to help the creatures she thought so forbidding. Children whose fears are starting to get the better of them can benefit from Jo's journey; but the tale, which is gorgeously illustrated in bright hues that bring the ocean and its not-so-scary creatures to life, will also appeal to young readers. -VERDICT An engaging read-aloud and a worthy addition to storytime collections.-Henrietta Verma, Credo Reference, Jackson Heights, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
It's common for children to be scared of new adventures and let their fears hold them back. Here Atkinson does a fine job in illustrating and writing about those fears. Jo is afraid of the sea. As tough luck would have it, Jo's father is a message-bottle delivery man, and when he comes down with a cold, it's up to Jo to get into his rickety boat and deliver the necessary bottles: Jo's legs were shaking like jellyfish, and sea butterflies filled her insides from head to toe. However, once she starts sailing and delivering those long-awaited messages to pirates, sea creatures, and more, she learns that adventure does not need to be so scary after all. Readers will love the bright, garishly colorful, chaotic artwork that is Atkinson's trademark. Most important, fans will have fun with exploring the pages, whether it is counting fishes, identifying sea life, or wondering what messages are in those bottles. A sweet tale filled with a spunky heroine and seafaring adventure.--Jessica Anne Bratt Copyright 2018 Booklist
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