A magical dream world that readers will want to return to over and over again

ocean-meets-sky-9781481470377_lgIt’s a good day for sailing.

Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him. He spoke of a place where the ocean meets the sky. There, whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!

And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for. This appealing narrative with its lovable characters were part of the reason I enjoyed reading Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan.

Finn, a boy of Asian descent, knows that today would have been Grandpa’s 90th birthday, and honors him by building a boat for the journey they had planned together. After scrapping together a vessel from driftwood, an old tire, window frames, and other discarded materials, he crawls inside the boat for a short nap. When he awakens, the boat is at sea.

But this is no ordinary voyage.

A massive golden fish with a mustache and goatee agrees to lead Finn to the destination described in his grandfather’s tales. After visiting several amazing locales, the boat lifts skyward. Finn glides through eye-catching spreads filled with wonders from ocean and air (a magnificent mélange of giant whales, submarines, sailing ships, dirigibles, hot air balloons, and more) toward a full moon with a very familiar and much-longed-for face.

Summoned home by his mother’s call, Finn stands on the seashore, looks to the moon, and acknowledges that “It had been a good day for sailing.” This is a lovely book about grief and imagination.

“The Fan brothers’ elegant illustrations and understated yet emotion-packed storytelling create a picture book that is at once mystical, magical, and magnetic,” according to School Library Journal. “Rendered in graphite and colored digitally, the artwork masterfully blends realistic details with soaring flights of fancy.”

This grand adventure stirs imaginations while also celebrating a loving intergenerational relationship and providing comfort and closure after loss. Readers will want to share this affecting title one-on-one, with plenty of time to pore over the gorgeous artwork.

The ability to persevere through difficulty and rise above, is a key to progressing in life. While the most valuable lessons often come from life experience, enjoying real of whimsical stories of others who have demonstrated perseverance can encourage children when faced with their own challenges.

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