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The Sea-Thing Child
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The Sea-Thing Child

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  33 reviews
One stormy night the sea-thing child, a draggled heap of scales and feathers, is flung up on the beach. Afraid of the wild waves and the storm skies, he meets a fiddler crab with no bow and together they avoid facing their fears. Finally, though, he finds his star, his courage and his ocean self.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published November 6th 2000 by Walker (first published January 1st 1972)
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May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I picked up a number of books while we were in the States, most of them related to my history of science and magic research 'cause I'm nothing if not obsessive. And then this: a slender children's book written by an unfamiliar author and scattered throughout with simple lines drawings by his son. It cost a quarter. I had little room in my suitcase, but after reading the inscription inside I couldn't bear the thought of returning it to the shelf:

Dear Tessa,
This book has been mine as long as I c
I have recently become a huge fan of Hoban and I'm not sure what it is about his writing that I love so much. There is something in the words he uses and the questions he asks us to ponder that seem to stay with me long, long after I have read the book. All his work is definitely touched with the philosophical and I believe that with children and careful questioning, his books could throw out some fascinating questions about ourselves and life.
This edition that I have is the first print and was
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
So I feel there was some deep and philosophical message here about tapping into inner courage and strength to find your way in life ('The finding is in me, and the finding finds the way'), but I was bored. A feathery, scaly bird creature and a fiddler crab talk riddles on a beach while the creature builds stone igloos. An eel and an albatross come to visit and impart wisdom. I feel like I just read a Zen koan.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hoban has done a lot of very interesting stuff. Some I love, some I don't want to go near.

So far I'm liking this, as the last line on the first page is "He was nothing but a little draggled heap of fright." Well, actually, the first wordless spread is wonderful art, too, and I'm excited to see the rest by Benson.
Welp, alrighty then. Pretty deep & metaphorical & poetical and all. I bet some readers feel it in their hearts, treasure it. I can appreciate much of it, but much m
Caroline Watkinson
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very thoughtful read, with an ending which provokes even more thought as to the meaning of the story.
I love the fact it takes on a fable/moral theme as this means that it can open up more conversations with children about the meanings and issues and topics around that.
A good descriptive book that a variety of ages could enjoy in different ways.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Deceptively simple, it reminds me strongly of Antoine de Saint-Exup‚ry's The Little Prince. This is the sort of short fable that stays with the reader and becomes more meaningful over time. Probably not a great choice for elementary children - on the surface, it could be mistaken for a rather boring picture book.
I read the original that doesn't show you what the sea-thing child looks like. I preferred that edition, likely because I read it first.
Kaitlin R. Martin
What a provoking little read!
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
sweet and kind of aimless story book
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No ISBN but there is an SBN on dust jacket (06-022399-5)
Skylar Burris
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Beautifully written, pleasant to read aloud, philosophical, and symbolic. This is a story about facing and conquering your fears and being what you were made to be. It’s not something most young children will be able to appreciate, however. Although they may catch some of the nuances, the book will in large part be over their heads and may even bore them. This is one of those children’s books that seems to be meant for adults, and unlike, say, A Wish For Wings That Work (an Opus adventure, of al ...more
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
I loved this book. More for myself than for little man. The sea-thing child washes up on shore one night and thus begins his journey of self-discovery with the fiddler crab. The characters in this book represent parts of every person. Sea-Thing Child is lost, confused, and slowly working his way out of the isolation of his rock igloo. Crab is overly emotional and irrational. Albatros is strong, confident, and completly self assured.

This was all beyond my little guy, but the fiddler crab's const
Jun 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
I realized a quarter of the way into this VERY LONG picture book that neither I nor my daughter was enjoying it. However, I continued because I figured something amazing was bound to happen. This book has numerous reviews of praise; people are often mistaken. Yes, deep down there is some metaphor to life, overcoming obstacles, or not letting your fears get in your way down the path of life… but could less whiny more affable characters have been used to convey this message?? The seagull was very ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
The little sea-thing child is dropped off by the ocean on the shoreline and he is too afraid to try flying back or swimming back to whence he came. Luckily he meets a fiddler crab and an eel and an albatross and the conversations with his new friends help him find the courage to head home. A quietly clever story.
I read this twice. It sometimes takes courage to do what you are destined to do and not overthink it or allow fear to get in your way. This book is more enjoyable with a repeat reading. The illustrations are wonderful.
May 12, 2010 rated it liked it
An adult, poetic book that explores words and emotions of the world of the sea and beach. Gentle, thoughtful children will likely enjoy it, while busier, twitchier kids will likely be bored after the first page.
Jun 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone soul-searching
Probably my favorite book of Hoban's. It's innocent and creative enough for a child; but poignant and poetic for an adult. Timeless as it relates to life. Fits into the classics of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Prophet, and The Alchemist.
Apr 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
(Read with little sister as part of the "1,001 Children's Books To Read")

I didn't like this story - it was weird and pointless. Not at all charming. It was cutely illustrated though and the ending was fine.
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this to Meena the other night. This is by far one of the deepest children's stories I've read. Go to the library today and get this.
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
The edition I read didn't have Benson's illustrations - just some pen and ink abstracts.

It would be a good read aloud for an imaginative child.
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It was so poetical and haunting. I loved this book!
May 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it very boring a bit to philosophical for a children's book.
Joe Kuth
Mar 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My rating is for the first edition with lovely, minimal illustrations by Abrom Hoban. I find the newer Patrick Benson illustrated edition off-putting, and too literal.
Dan Smith
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
About fear and being estranged from your own nature. I don't know how well it works read to children but I thought it wonderful.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully whimsical and strangely touching story about the friendship between the Sea Thing Child and a fiddler crab. Wonderful!
Kay Carman
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Washed up on the beach during a storm, the sea-thing child clings fearfully to the shore until he discovers his true destiny.
The sea-thing child by Russell Hoban (1999), 2nd U.S. ed
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This rating is for the original book with subtle illustrations by Abrom Hoban. I can't imagine the same magic with any others.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book.
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Russell Conwell Hoban was an American expatriate writer. His works span many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mainstream fiction, magical realism, poetry, and children's books. He lived in London, England, from 1969 until his death. (Wikipedia)