MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Oliver and the Seawigs
Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
ISBN: 978-0-385-38790-3 eBook
  Net Galley Synopsis:
A lively step up from early chapter books, 
this seafaring romp is packed with hilarious art, lovable misfits, meddlesome monkeys, and tons of kid appeal.
When Oliver's explorer parents go missing, he sets sail on a rescue mission with some new, unexpected friends: a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are even more exciting, unusual, and full of mischief than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad?

MrsK's Review:
If a title can catch your eye... If a cover can hook you into checking out the back cover... If the back cover can tease you enough to open the book... well this did all of that and more.  What is a Seawig?  What is that boy hanging down from?  What are not-so-imposing tales?  As a Librarian... I must know more.

Oliver Crisp has parents who are explorers.  Oliver is now ten and was so excited to be going to a home that would become more than a vacation stop.  His parents have explored every where around the globe, there was no where left to explore, absolutely no "blank spaces left on the map."

When the family arrived at their home by Deepwater Bay, Oliver saw a grand home complete with a view overlooking the bay and a cove.  Oliver especially noticed the many rooms to settle down in.  Yet his parents saw many little unmapped, uncharted, and unexplored islands.  So... while his parents got their inflatable dinghy... Oliver...
"...opened the window to let in the air, and the sea wind, and the cries of the gulls."

Just imagine having your own room, your own home, your own everything.  Once Oliver began to unpack, the time just slips away.  Especially if you have books to sort and to put on shelves (shelves by the way that you have never had the opportunity to arrange before).  
"As the bars of sunlight began to move along the wall..."
Oliver realizes that he hadn't heard his parents talking in quite a long time.  Gosh, at the window... Oliver discovers that the islands were gone!  Gone, really... really gone. Gone as in vanished!  Only the orange inflatable dinghy could be seen.

Normally this would be a frightening event, but Oliver's life with parents who are explorers has never been a normal adventure.  You might be wondering what Oliver would be thinking?  Yep, he thought he would go and get the dinghy, set out in it, and find his parents.

Adventures can begin at any moment and for Oliver once he met the wandering albatross, known to us as Mr. Culpepper, his adventure begins like any good story should begin.  Mr. Culpepper begins to explain about the islands and about... well really, who would have thought that a far-sighted mermaid would run intto a little spit of land. Oliver notices that her eye is beginning to blacken and inquires as to why she ran into the tiny island.  Iris is a bit of loner, she can't tell the difference between a handsome fisherman or a walrus!  So she was on her way to see an optician at Farsight Cove when she ran into them.

Have you ever heard of a "rambling isle?"  No, well neither had I... and yet, that is exactly what Oliver, Mr. Culpepper, and Iris is drifting on.  And you know what else... it's not just a floating piece of land... oh no, it's a very big stony giant.  Cliff, that's the shortened name Oliver gives him, explains how all the rambling isles are on their way to the Hallowed Shallows for the Night of the Seawigs.  Seawigs... yep, it's a party and the giant with the best sea---wig wins.

There are so many delightfully silly characters yet to meet.  Oliver will "hook" up with his parents.  Cliff will need to decide if he is going to be bullied by Thurlstone (a very big isle with an attitude and a surprised captain who is on a power-control rage).  Mr. and Mrs. Crisp will need to discover that there is no place better to explore than their own cove.  Iris and Mr. Culpepper will need to find out what a friendship is worth.  And Oliver, well let's just say he has a grand adventure from this point on.

When I first had the opportunity to review this story, I was thrilled because its author, Philip Reeve, wrote one of my all time favorite fantasy book shares... Larklight (click to take a look inside).  This was a rollicking good read.  The illustrations are so full of life, with just the right dash of zaniness to add personality to these "kooky" characters.  The story line weaves in and out of great adventures which will leave you wanting more... and there will be more!

Enjoy this sea-fairing journey,
 Take a look inside

Enjoyable read... An excellent adventure... a must for every classroom and library shelf! 

About the Author:

PHILIP REEVE is the acclaimed author of the Mortal Engines/Predator Cities series, the Fever Crumb series, and Here Lies Arthur (2008 Carnegie Medal Winner). He was born and raised in the seaside town of Brighton, and has been writing down adventures since he was five years old. (

About the Illustrator:
SARAH McINTYRE has written and illustrated several picture books and comics for children. Her delightfully over-the-top drawings and mischievious monkey illustrations brought Philip and Sarah together for this series. (

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."

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