CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 38. . . .June 9, 2017
Sea Monkey & Bob introduces readers to a puffer fish named Bob and a sea monkey that live in the sea. Both of these characters engage in dialogue that expresses their fears that are inevitably brought upon them because of their body types and the fact that they live under the sea. Bob is light and fears the air above the sea while Sea Monkey is heavy and scared of the darkness that lies beneath them. Bob is terrified of floating up to the air, and Sea Monkey, in turn, is terrified of sinking deep into the darkness.
Sea Monkey & Bob, with its central topic of fear, teaches children that it is normal to fear certain things fear is a part of life whether under the sea or in the world above. It is easy for young readers to make connections to their own lives and daily anxieties. Growing up can be tough, and children experience new situations and obstacles that they must face and learn to overcome. Facing uncertainty when making decisions is all too familiar for readers no matter what their age. Young children experiencing things for the first time often fear the unknown, in part because they may not know the consequences that could follow.
While assisting children in understanding how common fear is in everyday life, Sea Monkey & Bob also encourages them to seek help from another person. In this story, Bob and Sea Monkey help one another both physically and mentally. Without giving away the ending, Bob the puffer fish and Sea Monkey realize that they need to lean on each other for support when faced with the jitters. Their fears never really vanish; these characters just learn to deal with them with the help of a friend. It becomes easy for any child reader to apply this book's main theme to her/his own life. Firstly, the story teaches children that fear and anxieties are not things to be ashamed of, but, more importantly, Reynold demonstrates that asking for help from a friend or family member is not something to be ashamed of either. Through the characters of Bob and Sea Monkey, the author encourages both individual strength and teamwork to conquer conflicts both internal and external. The many internal emotions both characters experience, as well as the external limitations their physical bodies impose on their daily lives, are ultimately conquered by friendship.
Debbie Ridpath Ohiís illustrations are very engaging and visually stimulating for a young child who might not be able to read yet.
Sea Monkey & Bob leaves children feeling a sense of comfort after seeing that even sea creatures are sometimes fearful of the unknown or the uncertain. This book also leaves children feeling empowered because they are both encouraged and given the tools to face and overcome their fears. They know that they don't have to tackle scary things alone, and that there is nothing wrong with that. Right to the very last page of the book, Reynolds instills the importance of friendship. The story ends on a hopeful note that suggests friendship lasts for a long time. Young children will read this book and feel inspired to be a kind person! They will be able to recognize when another person may need assistance and will help other people conquer their fears. Lastly, by doing so, they will make friends and often receive assistance and support in return when they are faced with hard times. I would absolutely recommend this book for young readers. It is fun, educational, and very relatable!
Melissa Toby, a student at The University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC, is pursuing her career as a teacher.
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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.