Monday, August 11, 2014

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
Available September 5th
Oxford University Press
To Buy- Amazon/Kindle / BN/ Book Depository
Hardback 195 pages
Middle Grade Fiction
Goodreads:  Oliver grew up in a family of explorers - but his biggest adventure is about to begin!

Along with his new friends, a grumpy old albatross, a short-sighted mermaid and a friendly island called Cliff, Oliver goes off in search of his missing parents. But before he can put his rescue plan into action there's the evil Stacey de Lacey and an army of greasy, green sea monkeys to contend with . . .


Oliver's parents love to explore, but finally they have come home and Oliver is very happy about that. As he gets reacquainted with a home he barely remembers, his parents take a short exploration of some islands that have appeared in the cove behind the house since they've been gone. Night comes and when Oliver discovers their dinghy without them, he goes off to find them. Oliver is a very well prepared explorer so no matter the emergency, he's got the right thing in his pack for it. Though he didn't expect to meet a traveling island holding his parents hostage or a nearsighted mermaid (girl) and a talking albatross.

Oliver's adventure is imaginative, a creative tale about standing up for yourself and doing what's right, hidden in a tale about moving islands that compete for the title of best seawig every seven years. As you can imagine, there are many things a moving island can decorate his/her shores with from the ocean and competition is fierce. But one particular island doesn't play fair and neither does the human that resides on it. 

There are some very interesting characters that add to this unique tale, sarcastic seaweed in...The Sarcastic Sea, of course. Slimy Sea Monkeys, real Monkeys, not those that you ordered through the mail when I was a kid. I think that the target audience for this tale will enjoy this novel more than I did. Nothing really reached out to make it special for me except the illustrations. It just didn't have anything that set it apart from other books in this genre. But it was cute and not hard to read at all. There were a lot of illustrations, very detailed pictures that add a lot to the story. 

I think the younger middle grade readers will enjoy this story, either read to them or stronger readers will enjoy reading it to themselves. It has some bigger words in it, something I like, to encourage young readers to expand their vocabulary without it seeming like a lesson or needing a dictionary.

**I received an e-arc of this novel from Oxford Press via NetGalley for review. This had no influence on my review. All opinions expressed are my own.***

Philip Reeve

Sarah McIntyre


  1. Hmm... It seems this was just okay for you. I am not sold that this is a good one. I am headed to the library today perhaps I will look it up.

  2. Sounds like a good transition book. From grade school to middle grade. I love books that have good illustrations. Sorry this one didn't connect to you, but as you said, maybe it would connect better to the target audience.

  3. I don't enjoy MG fiction too much and am not one to pick it up but I'll be recommending this to my younger brother and his friends for sure. Thanks for putting it on my radar, Heather! :)

  4. I find MG to be all over the place. Some, like this one by the sounds of your review, was a bit simple and better for younger readers. Others I have read have been seriously deep, even for an adult reader!

  5. That sucks you didn't like it that much, I LOVED it! I was LOL throughout the novel and thought the illustrations were superb. I thought it was good for middle grade, or younger too and could be read aloud.
    But if you're not a huge fan of middle grade especially on the young scale, I can see how it'd be a little meh. I'm like obsessed with MG books lol.
    -Dee @ Dee's Reads

  6. I loved this one and am SO excited for Cakes in Space. I think part of the reason that it appealed to me so much is that it really is a bridge from picture books to early chapter books - the type of book many of my parent customers come in looking for. I'm really looking forward to book 2, Cakes in Space!

    Great review! Glad you liked it, even if you didn't love it. :)


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