Over the Ocean / written and illustrated by Taro Gomi. 10.13.2017

Chronicle Books ISBN 9781452145150

PRI PS-Grade 1 Rating: 5

A child gazes across the ocean and wonders what is on the other side in Taro Gomi’s Over the Ocean.

More ships? Big farms? Cities, small houses, and stars? Gomi’s bright illustrations show the reader all that the child can imagine: far-away people and animals, a fair with fun rides, a country made of ice, and perhaps even another boy or girl gazing back from the opposite shore.

A single boat moving across the water in the distance connects the vibrant scenes, which are rendered with clever detail and a richly-hued palette. The author/illustrator places the reader behind the child on the beach, as if sharing in his or her gentle contemplation.

This picture book was originally published in Japan in 1979 and, upon translation into English and release in the United States, received the 2017 Mildred L. Batchelder Award. With succinct text and a relatable theme, Over the Ocean is a soothing and thoroughly enjoyable read-aloud that speaks to the power of imagination and wonder.

Nina Ditmar, CLJ