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|Town is by the sea|
Author: Schwartz, Joanne
A young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather's grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner with his family, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.40
Points: .5 Quiz: 191001
School Library Journal (+) (00/02/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2017 K-Gr 3—This first-person narrative portrays a day in the life of a loving family in a seaside mining town. As the tale begins, Schwartz lays the foundation for a comparison of the boy's daily routines, illuminated by sunshine, with the father's world underground. The rhythm is established and continued at logical junctures with the protagonist's introductory words: "It goes like this…" He then describes what he notices when he awakens, swings with his friend, eats a bologna sandwich, and visits the grave of his grandfather—also a miner. As the boy gazes at the sparkling water or basks in the light pouring through the diaphanous bedroom curtain, he is cognizant that "deep down under that sea, my father is digging for coal." These phrases are also repeated periodically as the blackness that occupies most of the related spreads presses down on—and eventually eclipses—a small border depicting the father and coworker crawling through the mines. The voice is matter-of-fact, without judgment, and self-aware. Readers are left to draw their own conclusions. As in Smith's illustrations for Jo Ellen Bogart's The White Cat and the Monk, the ink and watercolor scenes are characterized by companionable relationships and strong brushwork; effectively evoking the story's subject and qualities, the blackness forms shadows, window frames, silhouettes, outlines around objects (heavier around the father's teacup than the mother's), and, at the family dinner, a tangled mass under the table. VERDICT Art and text meld for a powerful glimpse at a way of life that begs inspection. A thoughtful and haunting book that will stay with readers.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.