sunday best #7: “The Sea-Thing Child”

The Sea-Thing Child
Russell Hoban, illustrated by Patrick Benson
1999, re-published in 2000 by Walker

Kona Macphee says:

This 1999 “children’s story” from Russell Hoban, poignantly illustrated in muted seaside colours by Patrick Benson, is one of my favourite books.

The sea-thing child is a young creature washed up on a beach during a storm, and this is the story of his growing: a journey that begins in fearfulness and confusion, encounters a number of fellow-travellers with varyingly useful advice, and eventually re-embraces the huge, dark sea, its opportunities and inevitable uncertainties.

For me, this book – which is as much for grown-ups as for children – is a deeply moving parable that speaks, simply and truthfully, of human experiences including the journey from childhood to authentic adulthood, the challenges and anxieties of an artistic calling, and the transcending of fear in the acknowledgment of freedom.

“The Sea-Thing Child” is recommended by Kona Macphee.
  • First published: 1999
  • Current availability: Available on Amazon UK

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