Recommended for ages 8-12
I’ve been a fan of Philip Reeve since I read the Larklight series; when I saw his name on the cover of Oliver and the Seawigs, it was a no-brainer for me – I had to read it. And I’m so glad I did!
Oliver Crisp is a young boy whose parents are world explorers. He’s climbed every mountain, waded through rivers, wandered through jungles – all he really wants to do is have a real home, with a real bed, and be a normal kid with normal parents. When his parents finally decide that they’ve seen all there is to see, and head to their family home, Oliver is thrilled. Until his parents spot a cluster of islands right by their home that they swear they’ve never seen before.
Oliver decides to sit this adventure out, enjoying the experiencing of unpacking and settling into his home, but when he discovers that not only have his parents disappeared – the islands have, too! – he sets out to find them and find what happened. On his journey, he meets a nearsighted mermaid, a grumpy albatross, some very sarcastic seaweed, and a living island that he names Cliff. This is a whole new world for Oliver, who learns that home isn’t merely a place, but who you surround yourself with. The story also addresses bullying in a very discreet way, making this a great teaching tool.
Philip Reeve writes great character-driven stories. He has a real talent for bringing unconventional families to life, and he creates fun, new characters, whether it’s a grumpy albatross, a crazy sea monkey army, or a sad, living island. Sarah McIntyre’s fun two-color illustrations enhance the fun of reading the story – I think I need a Sea Monkey plush for my desk at work! – and bring a real sense of life to the characters.
I had a great time with Oliver and the Seawigs, and I think middle graders looking for a fun adventure book will, too. This one publishes next week, so put it on your back-to-school reading lists!