A young girl and her grandmother move next door to one ol’ poop of an ex-sailor in Swashby and the Sea. And while that sounds horrible, things turn out for the best with humor, much love and the sea providing only what is needed.
On the surface the book seems serious, but the overall atmosphere is light-hearted. The antics of the girl and ol’ sea dog will amuse. I found this story of love and friendship sweet and comforting with a dash of not sadness, but somberness. It is an interesting combination of simple (but not simplistic) and sophistication to the tone of the story.
The story is simple Swashy’s aloneness seems like what he needs, but of course, he learns otherwise. The girl and her grandmother offer a friendship. Overall the story is clean, you know that Swashy will not be alone for long. The getting there is the fun part. All ages can take something away from this. The younger readers can read the illustrations, the beginning reader can find a few words, the advanced reader can do a solo read and the adult reader can appreciate the whole package. Beth Ferry and Juana Martinez-Neal created something special.
The art is whimsical. Everything is solid on the page, but some aspects are “airy” and creates an ideal beach and ocean setting. The colors are soft, but shine. They are the reason the story was comfortable for me. They can be calming, yet not “sleepy” to the eye.
I had not realized how many stories I had read of Ferry’s. The nice thing is, if you are not necessarily a fan of one, try something else. Each seems to have its own flavorings.