In this gently told picture book, a young girl is unhappy about having to leave the city for a family vacation on the Pacific Ocean (which she used to call the Specific Ocean). As the days pass, however, she is drawn to spend more time in and near the water, feeling moved by its beauty and rhythms. “The ocean does its own thing, rolling backward and forward. Wash, swash, splush, hush. There is no late or hurry or racing in ocean time.” By the end of the vacation, the girl has grown to love the ocean and now feels reluctant to leave it behind. But as she soon realizes, it doesn't ever have to leave her. “Calm. Blue. Ruffled. Gray. Playful. Green. Mysterious. Black. Foggy. Silver. Roaring. White. No matter where I am, this specific ocean will be with me.” Author Kyo Maclear has written a sweet and evocative love story about the magic and wonder of the ocean. Katty Maurey's softly drawn illustrations maintain the poetic feel of the text, while bringing to life the imagery of the seaside, adding a wonderful richness to the pages. This book would make a lyrical read-aloud that could lull young children into an appreciation for the peaceful joy found in nature. It also presents a compelling emotional component to why conserving our natural spaces is important, and would work well for any classroom science discussion on the environment or on the ocean as a habitat and ecosystem.
Kyo Maclear is an award-winning writer and novelist. Her first book for children, Spork, has received a number of honors, including a 2011 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award nomination. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
... this is a handsome, evocative look at one child's formative experience.
—School Library Journal
Maclear and Maurey capture with finesse the mysterious process by which a physical place finds its way into the heart.
The Specific Ocean serves as a timely reminder that the mysteries and wonders of nature can be carried with us, no matter how busy we are.
—Quill & Quire
[the] final description of the ocean is rapturous ... A lovely, quiet beach story.