Oceans, Summer, and Swimming Like Seals
Swimming With Seals by Maggie de Vries and Janice Kun, published by Orca Book Publishers is a gorgeously illustrated story about family and the ocean. The most remarkable thing about this story is the illustrations. Janice Kun creates a collage style illustration using photographic images, watercolour and pencil. The effect is a dreamy, liquid and vibrant book that just calls to you from the shelf saying, "Pick me up!". When you do you will not be disappointed as along with the incredible illustrations is an exquisite story about a girl named Ally who travels to the city every summer to spend time with her aunt and uncle. Her mom also lives in the city, Ally lives with her Gram and great-aunt for most of the year. Throughout the story, Ally asks many questions about her mom and her aunt answers those questions with kindness. We are never told why Ally lives with her Gram and I love that the author leaves that aspect open. This book can speak to anyone who doesn't live with their mom for any number of reasons. Genetically, there are things about our personalities that we will share with our biological parents, in this case Ally and her mom both swim like seals. It is through swimming and the ocean that Ally feels most connected to her Mom. It's those traits that connect us with our biological parents no matter where they happen to live.