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Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent
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Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  848 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
A shark accuses Cyrus of cowardice because he won't sink any ships. The kindly sea serpent almost succumbs to peer pressure, but learns at last to be himself.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published April 26th 1982 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1975)
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“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is an adventurous book from Bill Peet about how a friendly sea serpent who at first wanted to wreck a ship to have fun, ends up trying to protect a ship full of passengers looking for a new land. “Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” may be tough for smaller children to read but older children would most likely enjoy the adventurous scenes contained in this book.

Bill Peet’s writing is extremely inventive and exciting as he writes the story about a sea serpent tha
Mar 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I think there’s probably no one quite as wonderful at drawing ‘beasties’ as Bill Peet. The man was genius. I first fell in love with his drawings without even knowing who he was. How’s that? You know those little monster sidekicks in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty who get it wrong, and face the wrath of Maleficent? They’re all Bill Peet. I can still hear that one who ignorantly reports that they looked in “all the cradles.”

Yeah, he’s the same man who was a fully credited animator on the majority of fi
Lisa Vegan
Cyrus is another memorable and lovable character created by the brilliant writer and artist, Bill Peet. This is a fun adventure story and I loved the illustrations: Cyrus is a hoot and very endearing. The last line in the story is particularly funny. I think that this story will entertain children of all ages. After How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head, this might be my next favorite book by this author/illustrator.
Mar 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We've recently discovered Bill Peet's books and have been steadily borrowing them from our local library as we find them. We borrowed this book as part of a kit with a paperback book with ISBN 0395313899 / ISBN13 6450395313893 and an audiocassette with narration by Don Wesson.

We enjoyed this fantastic story, although it did seem to be a bit long. I liked listening to the book narrated on audiocassette and we really enjoyed the music and sound effects, but there seemed to be some rather long paus
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
3* art
3* story

Bill Peet never fails to create an unusual main character or odd plot-line. We will read everything of his we can get our hands on because of this.
Mark Baker
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, picture-book
Cyrus is a bit bored with his life as a sea serpent, so he takes a dare from a shark to attack a passenger ship about to leave the dock. Will he go through with his plans? Or will he wind up helping the sea?

While Cyrus’s reasons for being near the ship aren’t good, the end result is great. There is a very subtle lesson in peer pressure vs. doing the right thing near the beginning. Adults will pick up on the outline early, but everyone will enjoy watching Cyrus in action. Bill Peet’s illustration
Sarah Lancaster
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew such a small book could hold so much information? The character Cyrus reminds me of many people and students trying to find what they are meant to be or meant to do, or just being bored turning into an adventure. Man i love Bill Peet!
Jun 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
Funny story, positive messages, cute illustrations -- pretty much an all-around winner.
Peet was quite prolific and many of his books were in print when I was little, so I'm surprised I didn't read him as a child.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite Children book authors who was previously a Disney Artist.
Tiffany Lynn Kramer
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another childhood favorite.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kids love this book! You will read aloud a million times!
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-bill-peet
The pilgrims had a sea serpent to thank for their safe passage across the ocean.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, juv
My nieces and I really got into reading this one with sound effects. Beautiful illustrations and a story of a sea serpent who is bent on being a monster, but ends up saving the day.
Enjoyable. Talked with Kate about how to respond when friends/acquaintances taunt us into doing something that we shouldn't.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cute book about helping others...
Lili Rucker
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
It was pretty good
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It as been too long ago since I started reading and so unfortunately I cannot say whether it was Cyrus or Serendipity who was my first sea serpent. Something has me leaning towards Cyrus indirectly due to the autobiography that I read but then again it was Serendipity who I have read again in my restart of book counting so I guess I can honor either serpent.

The one reason that I mention both sea serpents is that both are great stories that have beautiful lessons but as much as they may have in
Jul 10, 2011 added it
Looking for a little excitement, Cyrus the sea serpent set off to wreck a ship. When an old man curses the ship Cyrus has targeted, however, the serpent’s sympathies shift to those on board. Instead of attacking them, Cyrus follows the ship and guides it through the hazards of the voyage, including a terrible storm and a pirate attack.

Though the illustrations are a bit superficial, with little to no activity going on in the background, the book is a fun read that combines monsters, pirates, adve
Cyrus, a bored sea serpent, is looking for adventure when a shark eggs him on to sink a ship. Instead of destroying the vessel, he saves it from the doldrums, a vicious storm and a pirate attack. He is proud to protect the people aboard who at first fear him, and when he safely returns them to shore, he can rest peacefully on a deserted Caribbean island.
This is a gread read aloud for elementary school students with lessons about bullying and the pride and joy that comes from helping someone in n
Mar 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: preschool aged kids and up
Recommended to Meredith by: my husband
Another favorite from Bill Peet. My husband could recite this book from memory long before he could read. The illustrations are full of character, and the text has the usual Bill Pete quirky tone. I appreciate that his books teach lessons about being brave, kind, and making good choices without being annoyingly preachy or trying to hard to be politically correct.

His books are a little too long for young toddlers to sit through, but would be excellent reads for the pre-K crowd (and parents who ar
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Adorable sea serpent, fun story about a kind sea serpent who is peer-pressured by a shark to doom a ship. When he's about to do it, an old man on the pier "curses" the ship - telling the captain that the ship will go down, by storm, or pirates, or the doldrums (lack of wind). Cyrus decides to prove the old man wrong and accompanies the ship on its journey (from Europe to the New World) to protect it. And he does.
Lolly (Claudia)
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bill Peet is my favorite children's author. All of his books have a lesson and moral and can lead into some excellent discussions. The vocabulary is good for young readers and the illustrations are colorful and fun. I would recommend all of his books for family libraries, as well as reading in elementary classes.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fun introduction to sea-faring in days gone by. The sea serpent has a kind heart and is quick to spot trouble and offer assistance.

Instead of a ship named the 'Mayflower,' this one is named the 'Primrose.' The captain, crew, and passengers waved goodbye to Cyrus while standing on a large rock. Plymouth rock, of course. No reference to religion, just to finding a better life.
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, kids-books
This was my favorite book as a kid. I swear, I must've read it at least twenty times back then. Such a cute little story. I'll have to hunt down a copy for my children someday. Hopefully they'll like Cyrus as much as I did.
Rocheal Hoffman
Cyrus is the sweetest ever. This author is definitely a keeper. Kids will enjoy the story as well as higher order thinking questions such as making a different ending, writing poems about the book, and inferring why things happened the way they did-- such as war.
Elizabeth A
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, kids-ya
My 8 year old nephew, Jonah, is really into Bill Peet at the moment. The kid stocks up every day on more books to read. So love that. He was over for a play date and brought three for us to read. These short stories are quite fun, and I do love the illustrations.
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-to-the-kids
I loved that this book shows how you can make your own choices and affect others for good. I thought it taught a good lesson. At first he lets someone pressure him into a course of mean choices but changes his mind and uses his talents for good.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
After seeing Cyrus in giant Lego form, I was told that it was shocking/appalling/indecent/just plain crazy that I had never read this book before. So I read it! Fun, exciting story, great pictures. I only wish I had known about it before I saw the giant sea serpent in Florida!
Ethan Kalsbeek
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bill Peet books are classic. His artistry, all illustrations hand drawn and crayon colored, is amazing. His stories are entertaining and child friendly. He does a great job in this book keeping the reader at the edge of his seat. Phenomenal!
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Bill Peet was an American children's book illustrator and a story writer for Disney Studios. He joined Disney in 1937 and worked on The Jungle Book, Song of the South, Cinderella, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, Goliath II, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Fantasia, The Three Caballeros, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and other stories.

More about Bill Peet

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