Review: Old Man Of The Sea by Stella Elia and Weberson Santiago.
Every line on Grandpa’s face tells a story. One day, he starts to talk about the time he spent at sea.
From the fairytale castles of Europe to watching the sun in Africa, Grandpa talks his way around the world. Every place has its own magic, and all the world is bound together by the endless seas.
Even when his tales get a little tall, our protagonist loves to hear them. They set in his heart a desire to travel and explore.
This story is accompanied by maps of the continents Grandpa visits, but unlike ordinary map books, these do more than introduce the shapes and boundaries of land. The book is like a whisper in the ear, calling readers to learn navigational skills and to explore the world around them – whether it be the high seas or the land outside the front door.
Grandpa’s stories also celebrate the guiding voice of a grandparent. He isn’t strictly truthful in the sense that children are taught, but Grandpa’s words contain wisdom. A different kind of truth. Grandparents are often taken for granted when children are small, but not only do they have more life experience, they often have time for games and creativity which working parents are unable to give.
The illustrated maps and pictures of the sea get steadily more fantastical, but every one is filled with a different kind of magic. The kind which reminds us that maps are more than lines and coloured spaces. That visiting the places they represent enriches our lives. The merfolk and dragons remind me of maps drawn when travel was less common, and details of what might be there was left to the imagination.
A magical book which fills the mind with seas and ships and mythical creatures. Listen closely enough and you can almost hear the waves.
Thanks to Lantana Publishing for my gifted copy of Old Man Of The Sea. Opinions my own.