Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle – Review
By Victoria Holdsworth
Whilst Eric Carle is better known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this fantastically original and forward-thinking book adds something special to his animal-themed collection.
I loved ‘TVHC’, and The Bad-Tempered Ladybird, and I even have a copy of The Very Busy Spider, but this one is really something special!
Firstly, the colours and the imagery on the front cover are so inviting and vibrant, and the imagery of Mister Seahorse, contrasting against a brilliant white background sets it apart from the get-go. The cover instantly fills your mind with the possibilities of what could be inside.
Dive inside, then take a little journey with Mister Seahorse, through his underwater neighbourhood and learn all about the fish fathers he knows, and meet them along the way.
“Opens up a whole other world”
When Mrs. Seahorse announces that it is time for her to lay her eggs, Mr. Seahorse asks her, “Can I help?” She then lays her eggs into a pouch in the belly of Mister Seahorse who tells her that he will take very good care of them. His journey then begins, and as he floats through his watery kingdom, he meets other fish creatures that are about to become parents, the first being Mr. Tilapia, a fish which carries its eggs in its mouth, then Mr. Kurtus, carrying his eggs on his head.
Mister Seahorse always leaves their company by wishing them well, or bids they keep up the good work.
The magic part about this book is the extra pages, which are clear ‘hide and seek’ pages, hiding other sea creatures that Mister Seahorse passes unwittingly. The animals are really cleverly camouflaged against the designs on the pages, disguised as seaweed or corals. It really adds a whole new dimension to a children’s story book and opens up a whole other world of learning opportunities to discover with your child.
The book also offers valuable learning curves about the love between a parent and a child, and it is so inspirational to see a strong male taking the lead in a child’s story, especially using the other fish fathers to demonstrate gender role reversal.
This story is so well thought out, and includes repetitive phrases and well-structured sentences and then at the end of the book there is the theme of letting go. Mister Seahorse has taken very good care of his babies for so long and when they hatch one even comes back and wants to go back in his pouch, to which Mister Seahorse says: “I do love you. But now you are ready to be on your own.” It’s not so much about letting go for the baby seahorse, but also about letting go for Mister Seahorse.
This is a must for any children’s bookshelf and slots right in to the rest of Eric Carle’s classics.
‘Mister Seahorse’ by Eric Carle is published by Penguin, hardcover