Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Specific Ocean

Maclear, Kyo (Author)
Maurey, Katty (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2015. 32 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781894786355 (hardcover)
9781771385862 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The young protagonist balks at going on vacation—she wants to stay in the city with her friends—and when they arrive at the little house on the Pacific Ocean, she pouts. A picture of her “moping schedule” has her planning to “Watch dust” from 9:00 to 10:00, then, half an hour later, she notes, “Pull loose thread.”

Soon she is seduced by the sea. With her older brother, she swims along the rocks, floats on her back, and bobs in the waves. Slowly, they fold into the rhythm of the seashore. “The ocean is so big,” the narrator muses, “that it makes every thought and worry I have shrink and scatter.” She wants to bring the ocean home with her, but her brother says that, if she does, “the ocean will be less.”

The subtly developed characters and the quiet, first-person tone yield a narrative that feels plausible and intimate.

Somewhat naïf illustrations evoke the beach, sun-bleached, bright, blue, and wistful. A variety of full-page perspectives give the reader a child’s eye view

In the end, she keeps the ocean’s secret name, the “Specific Ocean” (her childhood malapropism), as well as everything she can imagine the ocean to be. “No matter where I am,” she knows, “this specific ocean will be with me.”

  •  

    The title of the book is based on a malapropism (a word mistaken for a similar sounding one) made by the protagonist. Share malapropisms you or another person made/make.

  •  What is your favourite place to experience nature? How did you discover this place? How does it feel to be there? Reflect on this question as you make connections with the text during reading.
  •  How do the feelings of the protagonist change over the story? Use a graphic organizer to show how she evolves.
  •  Listen to a teacher-selected page being read aloud. Visualize the setting. Compare your mental image with the illustrations.
  •  

    The protagonist realizes that her feelings about the ocean will stay with her in her memory and imagination after she leaves. Write and/or draw about an experience that is powerful enough to evoke feelings in you long after it has occurred.

  •  

    Examine the book cover and make predictions about the story. What do you think is the meaning of the title?

  •  Go for a picture walk. Discuss the artist’s choice of colours for this book. How do the pictures make you feel?
  •  

    As the book is read aloud, discuss how the words used by the writer help you feel as if you were there, how they make precise images in your mind. In your reading log, note the words that create the clearest images for you.

  •  

    Think of your magical place in nature. Where is it and what can you find there? How do you feel there? Use the authors’ style to describe and illustrate your own magical nature space.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Science and Technology
  • Visual Arts