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Swashby and the Sea Hardcover – Picture Book, May 5, 2020

4.9 out of 5 stars 289 ratings

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From the Publisher

Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal talks about her art for Swashby and the Sea

swashby and the sea

All the characters in my picture books are based on people that I know well. They could be family members or friends, and this makes my work feel more personal. The little girl we follow through Swashby and the Sea is based on a little girl I know quite well, my 6-year-old daughter -- a bouncy, thoughtful and eternally happy soul.

swashby and the sea

I love the contrast between the personalities of Swashby and the little girl. Swashby is grumpy and impatient while the little girl is cheerful and carefree. This makes their interactions so hilarious! If you follow the seagulls, you can see whose side they take throughout the book.

swashby and the sea

To me, the ocean is another character in the story. The ocean brings Swashby and the little girl together. When it came time to paint the ocean, I wanted to show the sea-foamy filled ocean that I grew up seeing everyday in Lima, Peru. I threw thick, almost-dry gesso over the acrylic paints to create the feel of the ocean in the illustrations. It was so much fun to paint!

Editorial Reviews

Review

"With charming and playful illustrations and diverse characters by Juana Martinez-Neal, and a snappy sweet narrative by Beth Ferry, this story moves our hearts and reminds us to stay open to new friends and ideas, and be present in life’s moments of adventure." —The Washington Post

★ "The illustrator of the Caldecott Honor–winning Alma and How She Got Her Name (2018), Martinez-Neal uses acrylics, colored pencils, and graphite to create pictures that capture the feel of the seaside, as well as the protagonist’s shifting emotions. Telling a story with imagination and wit, Ferry creates a cantankerous but lovable character in Captain Swashby and a mysterious, well-intentioned, mischievous one in the sea...an exceptionally satisfying picture book." —Booklist, STARRED review

★ "This readaloud is sweetly told as Swashby overcomes his bitter habits to welcome new, friendly, and energetic people into his quiet life....Martinez-Neal’s art captures the essence of the ocean.... Adults should prepare for a trip to the beach, as kids will want to go after hearing this." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED review

"This sweet story of friendship is sure to win over even the grumpiest of listeners." —Kirkus

"Caldecott Honoree Martinez-Neal’s acrylic, colored pencil, and graphite drawings teeter between scenes curmudgeonly and sweet, underscoring the story’s tensions. A strong sense of place emerges from the palette, redolent of sunlit sand and sea glass, and the interplay between Swashby and his meddling sea has its magic." —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Beth Ferry loves to wander, explore and mainly laze on the shore, but only in the summer. She is the author of several picture books, including Stick and Stone. She lives with her husband and three children by the beach in New Jersey.  
Website: BethFerry.com
Twitter: @bethferry1

Juana Martinez-Neal is the Peruvian born daughter and granddaughter of painters. Her debut as an author-illustrator Alma and How She Got Her Name, was awarded a Caldecott Honor and was also published in a Spanish edition as Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre. Her second author-illustrator book, Zonia's Rain Forest, is available in a Spanish edition La selva de Zonia. Juana has also illustrated numerous picture books including La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, for which she won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, and Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, which won The Robert F. Sibert Medal. 

Website: juanamartinezneal.com
Instagram: @juanamartinezn
Twitter: @juanamartinez

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Clarion Books; Illustrated edition (May 5, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0544707370
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0544707375
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 - 7 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD620L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9 x 0.36 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 289 ratings

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Beth Ferry reads and writes by the beach in New Jersey. She is the author of many picture books illustrated by many amazing artists. You can find out more at bethferry.com.

Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
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