Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Stories in a Seashell

Stories in a Seashell

Alex Nogues Otero
Illustrator:  Sylvia Cabestany 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Kane Press, 2018   ISBN: 978-1575659688

Max is walking on the beach doing the kinds of things that people strolling on a beach do. Among other things he watches the waves wash away his footprints, and he picks up shells. Then Max sees a big shell and he holds it to his ear to find out if you really can hear the sea inside a sea shell.

It turns out that you can! Then Davy starts to hear other sounds as well. He hears the wind and the cawing of seagulls. He hears a pirate ship pushing its way through the water and a lookout shouting out that land has been sighted. On that land there is a stranded man calling out for help.

A mermaid hears the cry and she heads off to help the man. She is sighted by two fisherman who are in a small boat, but what they do not see is that a storm in brewing and soon rain will be falling all around them.

Max also hears the sounds of puffins, and the clatter of stones on a beach as the waves push and pull them back and forth. He hears the sigh of a poet who is sitting on the beach. The poet’s view of the sun is obscured when a huge whale breaches, spouts, and then crashes into the water.

In this beautifully lyrical picture book we see how the simple act of listening to a shell on a beach can set the imagination on a wonderful journey of exploration, adventures, and storytelling. We never quite know what Max will hear next, and we can never be sure how one story will bleed into the next.