Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Mister Seahorse

Carle, Eric. 2004. MISTER SEAHORSE. New York: Philomel. ISBN 0399242694 [Suggested Grade Levels Pre-K -1]

It is time for Mrs. Seahorse to lay her eggs and what better place than in the safety of Mr. Seahorse’s pouch. Mr. Seahorse then encounters several other fishy fathers busy caring for their eggs or hatchlings. When Mr. Seahorse’s eggs finally hatch, he watches them swim away and tell them: “I do love you, but now you are ready to be on your own.”

A charming tale that introduces young children to the unusual parenting styles of some sea life. The beautiful collage illustrations done in bright shades of greens, blues, yellows, oranges and reds, create a fantastic undersea world. The different layers of paper create a multi-dimensional effect and Mr. Seahorse is often in different positions from one page to the next creating the illusion of movement. Children will also learn about camouflage as several overlays are used to hide various forms of fish. The text is straightforward and presents the facts in a way simple enough for preschoolers to grasp. Each fish explains to Mr. Seahorse what he is doing. For example, the fish Mr. Kurtus says: “Mrs. Kurtus laid her eggs and I have stuck them on my head. Now I am taking good care of them until they hatch.” Each encounter ends with a phrase such as: “ ‘You are doing a good job,’ said Mr. Seahorse and swam on his way.” This is then followed by him swimming by some hidden sea creature. This pattern is repeated throughout the story, so children can anticipate what comes next. This colorful visit to the ocean is sure to be a hit with children and parents alike.

Children can discuss how other animals parent their offspring (including their own parents). Then can learn about some of the other kinds of fish mentioned in the book such as the lion fish and the pipe fish. Children can discuss camouflage in the wild and perhaps be shown of real life examples.

Children can try making their own collages using tissue paper and paint or create undersea scenes using other materials.

Another picture book about seahorses.
Blackstone, Stella. SECRET SEAHORSE. ISBN 184148704X
Other books by Carle that could be related to this one:

By Ellen Reed

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