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Richard Thompson
Illustrated by Eugenic Fernandes

Toronto, Annick Press, 1989. 24pp, cloth, ISBN 1-55037-028-6 (paper) $4.95, 1-55037-029-4 (cloth) $12.95
Distributed by Firefly Books. (The Jesse Adventure series). CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 2/Ages 5 to 7
Reviewed by Pearl Herscovitch.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

When Jesse first encounters the ocean it reminds her of a big smelly dog named Bear who always tries to jump on her. Slowly, Jesse and the ocean become close friends. The ocean delivers gifts of shells and rocks to Jesse and gurgles and splashes to communicate with her.

A surprising twist is added to the story when Jesse returns home and receives a large box. Out comes “Ocean” gurgling, splashing and eventually flooding the entire community until Jesse convinces "Ocean" to go home, promising to visit "every-every" summer and blowing a kiss goodbye.

A potentially strong story is weakened by an overly precocious main character and a fantasy that would have been more successful had it been told strictly from the child's perspective. Marie-Louise Gay deals with a similar situation more successfully in Angel and the Polar Bear (Stoddart, 1988). Angel saves her family from floods and ferocious animals while her parents sleep. In Gurgle, Bubble, Splash parents look on passively and thereby make the story less believable.

Femandes' soft water-colour-and-ink illustrations save the story by capturing Jesse's growing delight with the ocean and the subsequent chaos it brings to her small town. An interesting if clumsy story recommended for collections where the "Jesse Adventure" series has proven popular.

Pearl Herscovitch, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta.
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