________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 8 . . . . December 7, 2007


The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade.

Meomi. (Vicki Wong & Michael Murphy).
San Francisco, CA: Immedium (Distributed by Consortium www.cbsd.com), 2007.
36 pp., cloth, $15.95.  
ISBN 978-1-59702-010-7.

Subject Headings:
Underwater exploration-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Myra Junyk.

*** /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.


It was a quiet afternoon under the deep green sea when…
Captain Barnacles was writing in his log.
Professor Inkling was enjoying his high tea.
Dr. Shellington was polishing his clam collection.
Peso Penguin was practicing piano.
Tunip the Vegimal was baking a cake.
Kwazii Kitten was chewing on some yarn.
Sauci Dog was playing basketball.
Tweak Bunny was…where was Tweak?

The Octonauts rushed down to the Octopod headquarters and found Tweak in a panic!

“Something awful has happened! I was napping under my favorite tree when the cool shade disappeared!!”

The crew looked around – outside, inside, upside, and downside. Shadows everywhere were indeed missing!

Meomi, the design team of Vicki Wong from Vancouver, BC, and Michael Murphy from Los Angeles, CA, has created their second book about the troupe of eight characters called the Octonauts. Their first book, The Octonauts and the Only Lonely Monster, taught young readers a lesson about friendship and individuality. This time, the crew, consisting of a brainy octopus, a brave polar bear, a daredevil kitten, a  scientific sea otter, an adorable penguin, a paddling dog, a glow-in-the dark bunny and a vegimal, travel to the mysterious realm of the Sea of Shade!

     One fine day, Tweak discovers that his shadow is missing. In fact, all shadows have disappeared from the earth! The fearless Octonauts decide that something has gone wrong in the Sea of Shade which is the realm of the great Shade King. They explore the Olde Fangled Caves and meet shadows looking “sad and afraid.” After the Octonauts befriend many lonely shadows, the shadows help the fearless explorers reach the Shade King. He tells them that shadows had been taken for granted for centuries, and he has decided to call them all back home. However, the Octonauts convince the Shade King that everyone needs shadows – and they will never take them for granted again! As the book ends, the fearless explorers and their shadow friends are celebrating the first-ever Shadow Appreciation Day. The ending teaches the reader a lesson about valuing friendship and not taking it for granted.

     The second book in The Octonauts series is once again full of bright and colourful illustrations.  Each of the Octonauts has its own unique visual personality. The characters display characteristics to which young children can relate – seeking adventure, seeing the value in ordinary life, using technology, and appreciating one’s friends. An important lesson is taught about not taking important things for granted. Are we taking important things for granted in our world such as our environment? Although the book appeals to young children, it has a wry sense of humour which will also appeal to adult readers. 

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     The illustrator is not afraid to be adventurous. Several of the pages turn the layout upside down forcing the reader to turn the book upside down as well. The bright colours are replaced by grays and blacks when readers enter the Sea of Shade. All in all, the book provides a feast for the eyes! The inclusion of technology in various graphic depictions – submarines, Octopods, radios, control rooms etc. – would also appeal to children who are consumers of technology each and every day. The Octonauts now have their own website (www.Octonauts.com) where youngsters can read about the books and their authors, “Meet the Octonauts,” read the “Octo-Press,” and purchase the books and “Octogoodies!”

     The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade could be used as a read aloud for children at home and with students in primary classrooms. Meomi’s story will inspire discussion about issues as far ranging as underwater creatures, shadows, submarines, friendship, and traveling to different parts of the underwater world.


Myra Junyk is the former Program Co-ordinator of Language Arts and Library Services at the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Currently, she is working as a literacy advocate and author.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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