________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 33 . . . . April 29, 2016


Sea Change.

Frank Viva.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2016.
115 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
ISBN 978-1-10191-852-4.

Subject Heading:
Graphic novels.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Aileen Wortley.

**** /4



I set the diary down on the trunk, walked over to the shelves, and pulled out a dusty clothbound copy of 'Treasure Island', one of my favorite books of all time. "Has your mother ever read this book to you?" I asked.

Timmy shook his head. "What's it about?"

I motioned for him to sit with me on the leather chair, which was big enough for both of us if we squeezed together. Then I cleared my throat and began to read the story of young Jim Hawkins.

"SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted...." As I read aloud, I tried to make my voice change from high and sweet to low and dark, the way my mom always did when she read to me. Each time I got to a "Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!" I yelled it loud enough to make Timmy jump off his seat.

After I read the part in chapter two where Black Dog holds his hand up to show his missing fingers, I glanced over, and Timmy's eyes were as round as saucers. Later, when we came to the sword fight between Black Dog and Billy Bones, he softly squeaked, "Oh, no!" Some of the words were pretty difficult, even for me, but Timmy wasn't missing a beat.

Just as I began chapter four, Earl called up the stairs that dinner was ready. By then I was really hungry.

"Wah-when can we read muh-more?" said Timmy.

Eliot, 12, hates to miss summer in Lakefield with his buddies, but his parents insist he will spend it in Point Aconi, NS, instead. There he will assist Great-Uncle Earl on his fishing boat, the YNOT. Initially things are dreadful. Earl is dour, strict and eats repulsive food! Eliot rises before dawn to fill bait buckets with rotting fish and work on the boat. On board, he is belittled by fisherman McGillivery, and, on land, he is bullied by Donnie McLeod.

      Things improve when local children befriend him, and he becomes close to Mary Beth and Timmy. He soon realises Earl has hidden qualities and also that life is not as simple as it appears in Point Aconi. Its very existence is at risk from the threat of strip-mining. And Mary Beth has a secret. When she confides in him, Eliot struggles between respecting her confidence and finding her help.

      Eliot rings true as a refreshing likeable character that readers will respond to. His outward obedience runs counter to the rebellious thoughts and realistic dialogue in his head. He shows a sensitivity beyond his years in his recognition of Timmy's wisdom who is perceived as "slow" and in his need to do the right thing by Mary Beth and her confidential disclosure. Supporting characters are well defined, made rich by Eliot's power of observation.

      The psychological tension and plentiful action keep the reader thoroughly engrossed, as does the sardonic humour. The sights and sounds of a small fishing village are deftly evoked, and the daily runs on the YNOT reveal a life style of which many are unaware. The story is enhanced by Frank Viva's bold and whimsical illustrations. His adaptation of the typography into various shapes that correlate with the text adds a delightful and imaginative component.

      Sea Change, a poignant, realistic and entertaining story, will appeal to children aged 10 to 13 and will be a welcome addition to personal collections as well as public and school libraries.

Highly Recommended.

Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian from Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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