Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Bill Peet
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1982   ISBN: 978-0395313893

Cyrus was a giant sea serpent who looked terrifying but who was, in fact, a very gentle creature. He spent his days wandering about rather aimlessly until one day when he decided that wanted a life that was more “exciting” and more enjoyable.

   After being taunted by a shark who said that Cyrus was a “sissy”, Cyrus decided that he would prove that he could be “as rough and tough as anyone.” He set off for a harbor that was full of ships. When one of them went out to sea, Cyrus would wreck it, which is what a tough sea serpent should do.

   Cyrus was all ready to pursue a ship when he found out that the ship was full of poor people who were traveling to a land far away where they hoped to “seek their fortunes.” When he heard an old man say that the ship would never reach its destination, Cyrus got very upset and he quite forgot to wreck the ship. Instead, he decided that he would do all he could to follow the ship, and perhaps he could help out if the ship ran into trouble.

   For several days all went well, and then the ship sailed into the doldrums and was becalmed. If a breeze did not pick up, the people on the ship would starve. Cyrus, seeing the ship’s predicament, decided that he had to do something to help.

   In this charming picture book readers will meet a sea serpent who ends up taking on a job that tests him in all kinds of ways. He goes from being a bored sea serpent to being a very busy one, and children will love seeing what Cyrus does and how he feels when his adventure is over.