Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: Oliver and the Seawigs by Phillip Reeve

18187690    Hardcover, 195 pages
    Expected publication: July 22nd, 2014  
    by Random House Children's
    In exchange for an honest review,
    an ARC was received from the
    publisher for free via NetGalley. 

Opening line:  "Oliver Crisp was only ten years old, but they had been a busy and exciting ten years, because Oliver's mother and father were explorers."  

Oliver's parents have taken him all over the world. They've explored Temples, climbed mountains and even placed him in precarious situations, like the time that eagle took off with his baby carriage and he was still in it.  But then Oliver's parents ran out of places to explore, or so they thought.  The Crisp's have finally decided to settle down in their little ole' home in Deepwater Bay.  Once they arrive, Oliver's parents spy a pair of new islands off in the bay and set off in a inflatable dinghy for one last exploration.  Oliver chooses to sit out this one and unpack and set up his room instead.   As the evening sun begins to set, Oliver notices that the house is very quiet.  Upon glancing out his window, he notices that his parents dinghy has washed ashore.  To top things off, the island that his parents were exploring has mysteriously disappeared.  Oliver grabs a pack of "important things" and takes off to the only island left in the bay to search for clues.  Here is where Oliver's exploration really begins.  

When I think of Summer reading, I want a book that is going to be entertaining or take me on an adventure.  Oliver and the Seawigs is the perfect kind of book that was made for a Summertime read aloud.  It has adventure, humor and is packed with a great ensemble of characters, including a near-sighted mermaid named Iris who is in search of a traveling optometrist at Far Sight Cove, a grumpy old albatross named Mr. Culpeper and a rambling isles that Oliver names Cliff.  Mix in an evil teenager in "sea boots and a sailor's uniform" who's bent on being nasty and bullying people around with his band of sea monkeys and you've got a winner. One of the first things that instantly appealed to me about Oliver and the Seawigs were the hilarious illustrations by Sarah McIntyre. Some of the full page ones will capture a child's attention and adults will enjoy the humorous plot as they read the story aloud together.  My favorite illustration was when Iris and Oliver are leaning over the edge of Cliff's head to talk to him and you see them from Cliff's point of view.  Nicely nestled into the story are messages about overcoming your fears, friendship and standing up to bully's. A whimsical tale filled with wonderful illustrations detailing life at sea that provides for an entertaining and fun read aloud. 

All qoutes were taken from an uncorrected proof.  My review copy was generously provided by Random House Children's.  

For a sample of the artwork there is a mini comic that McIntyre and Reeve made for  My Book Corner Website


  1. Sounds like a fun summer read. Great first line too. Thanks for the review.

    1. The illustrations are really really cute. It would suit a younger reader really well with all its humor.