Saturday, January 3, 2015

Seattle Aquarium - Guess What I Bought in the Gift Shop?

I got to visit the Seattle Aquarium today with some friends from the ville.  If you are ever in Seattle, be sure to make this one of your destinations.  Very kid-friendly and, if you are interested in marine life, fascinating for adults as well.  Don't forget to eat lunch in the cafe and have some Ivar's clam chowder.

Our last stop during our visit was the gift shop.  My go-to purchase in overpriced touristy gift shops is a magnet to add to my growing collection.  But today as I was looking through the children's book section, I found several 50% off books and you know I had to get a couple!

The first title that attracted my attention was Santa is Coming to Washington.  It must be a thing now, because there are quite a few "Santa is Coming to" books on Amazon, so you might be able to find your home state or even city on the list.

This is definitely a niche book, banking on the excitement people feel over seeing places they call their own in print.  I admit, I felt a little thrill at seeing Bainbridge Island mentioned on one of the pages and my friends found their new hometown as well.  

Not a solid story, though, and with that being the case, I would have liked to have seen Santa enjoy more of Washington's famous places.  If you're going to target a specific audience, at least immerse them in all of the glory of their particular world. The Space Needle is shown and St. James Cathedral is mentioned along with the Pacific Science Center, Mount Rainier, and David Rogers Park.  A dozen cities are mentioned in passing as well.

The illustrations are quite good and I would have loved to have seen more of the sites the author mentioned come to life on the pages of this book and Pike Place Market is a notable omission.

The next book that grabbed my attention was the Fish with the Deep Sea Smile by Margaret Wise Brown.

This is a charming story of a father and his two children who go on a fishing trip to find the fish with the deep sea smile.  The illustrations by Henry Fisher are bright, fun and lively.  He perfectly captures the tone of Wise's rhythm and rhyme.

The story is exactly what we expect from Brown - delightful.  She is known for repetition, rhyme, rhythm, writing for children rather than to children, and throwing in a challenging word now and then to keep children wondering.  

This story is perfect for little readers who love the predictability of a familiar refrain with a new twist added on each page.

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