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The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
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The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,844 ratings  ·  410 reviews
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, who lives alone atop a hill, has a job of the utmost importance. It is his task to open any bottles found at sea and make sure that the messages are delivered. He loves his job, though he has always wished that, someday, one of the letters would be addressed to him. One day he opens a party invitation—but there’s no name attached. As he devot ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 23rd 2016 by Dial Books
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,844 ratings  ·  410 reviews

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Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Erin Stead is one of my favorite illustrators. She is so talented. In this melancholy tale, her muted illustrations were perfect. The story, however meaningful, seemed more suited for adults. I wasn’t surprised that my children were a bit underwhelmed. 3.5 stars
Jillian Heise
A beautiful, quiet story, with beautiful, soft illustrations. I do wonder though, if kids will react the same as adults to this story. I will definitely be sharing it though.
May 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
enough with these pretentious/esoteric/existential hipster picture books! go away and please do NOT come back another day. inevitably, i can already tell this one's gonna win nods/awards/stars/etc. and people are going to rush out and buy it and unless they are true book people (you know who you are), they are going to give it to 3-5 year olds because in their heads, that's the only appropriate market for picture books. don't get me wrong, this book has some lovely language, but it's the kind of ...more
Like a warmly sung ballad, THE UNCORKER OF OCEAN BOTTLES will wind its way around your heart, shining with tinges of loneliness, wonder, and not a little joy.
Cuevas is a master of metaphor--phrases like, “messages… written by a quill dipped in sadness;” or, “[his] heart was a glass vessel filled to the brim,” are brilliantly evocative and transform chantey into chanson.
And Stead’s illustrations. Oh, my. There could not have been a more perfect choice to illustrate this book. She channels the i
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Erin Stead / Anyone Looking for Sweet Seaside Tales for Younger Children
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles lived a quiet and solitary life beside the sea, opening bottles and delivering the messages contained therein. His wish for a letter of his own seemed destined to go unfulfilled, until an invitation to a seaside party arrived with no name attached. In the process of trying to determine to whom he should deliver the invitation, the Uncorker ended up alerting the entire village to the theoretical party. When said villagers decided to attend, the party, which until tha ...more
Michele Knott
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story, beautiful illustrations.
Great mentor text for show, don't tell. Love the comparisons.
Stead's illustrations make you pour over each page, long after it was time to go to the next one.
Sara Grochowski
Not only is this is a lovely story, Erin E. Stead's illustrations are so incredibly moving that I find myself nearing tears with each read. What a stellar collaboration from Cuevas & Stead. <3
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautifully illustrated tale of a man who collects bottles that wash up on shore.
Daria Prietena Cu Cartile
2 stars not because is a bad book, because I can't compare it with other book...really nice for little kids
Laura Harrison
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Picture book perfection right here. Brilliantly done by both author and illustrator. If this title doesn't win the Caldecott gold or at the very least an honor I am going to ugly cry for a month. After that I will complain about the grave injustice of overlooking this spectacular and enchanting book the rest of the year. I don't think I need worry. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles is one powerful, gorgeous book.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much I bought two copies of it. One to keep and one to give as a gift. The story is sweet and the illustrations are so beautiful and soothing. It's a relaxing and lovely read. Yeah, maybe it appeals more to adults, but there are children who will fall in love with the pictures and story and remember it as they get older. Recommended for all ages!
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such lovely language! A sweet story of seeking and finding friendship. (And I always love Erin E. Stead illustrations! Swoon.) YAY for quiet books!
Kylie Hart
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous illustrations!
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So beautiful and wonderful and warm and cozy. To be read with a cup of tea and a loved one.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a quietly beautiful story with exquisite, dreamy illustrations:

Sarah N
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sweet story, with wonderful texture to the illustrations.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow! I really, REALLY enjoyed this one!!

When I was a young kid, my favorite picture books were the deep, quiet stories with the dreamy illustrations (in favor of the more spazzed-out, sporatic, splashy stories that could induce siezure or trigger a bout of ADHD or both):

The Magic Carousel...

The Runaway Flying Horse...

The Maggie B...

The Conjure Wives...

That very particular version of: "In A Dark, Dark Wood" where in the dark, dark cupboard there is an evil spirit inside a dark, dark bottle.
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles lives in a small house on a hill near the sea where he watches for the glint of glass in the waves. It is his job to deliver any messages found in bottles to their rightful owner. Sometimes that means walking only a short distance and other times he must go on a long journey to deliver them. He wishes that one day he would find a message in a bottle that is meant for him, but he never does. One day though, he does find a message with no recipient mentioned. It is an ...more
The eye-catching illustrations, created with woodblock prints, oil pastels, and pencil, draw readers into the book right from the cover and title page and then onto the copyright page with its poignant image of a man sitting alone at a table, looking pensive, while his cat stares at a ball of yarn. That mood is carried through the images for the rest of the story until he finally finds some reasons for joy. The story itself reads like a tale told down through the ages, filled with wisdom and awa ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ellie, mom, jacob
The kids rate this book 2 stars. Mom would have given it 3 stars. ..krb 9/14/16
Beth Kakuma-Depew
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very quiet story for introspective children. With a sweet open ending that invites imagined dreamy sequels.

I read this to my 3rd grader and 5th grader, with the younger one clearly enjoying it more. But there were so many friendly touches, like the cat that wanders in and out of the pictures, that the older boy liked it too. A lovely bedtime book.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful quiet book that opens doors for daydreaming and imagination. This one is better for child old enough to appreciate the nuanced storytelling. What a terrific writing prompt and discussion starter this is! Stead's illustrations are a lovely match for the text, extending the story in subtle ways. Definitely a book that will reward with repeat readings.
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely tale about loneliness, happiness, and possibility. It's full of beautiful illustrations that could narrate themselves. A combination that creates a touching story you will fall in love with.
Alice Ball
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
It was hard to rate this so low because Stead's illustrations are unparalleled in beauty. But the story was ridiculous. For this type of story done well - read Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli. This book belongs at a Brooklyn baby shower and not much else.
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a beautiful story about a man whose job is to find bottles in the sea and deliver the letters. One day he finds a letter with no name and it leads to a wonderful surprise. I loved the dreamy, watery feel of these illustrations. They perfectly fit the lovely story.
Edward Sullivan
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Beautifully written and exquisitely illustrated.
Brenda Kahn
Absolutely lovely literary picture book with stunning illustrations that you could lose yourself in.
Interesting idea for a story. Lovely pictures.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
The story makes no sense and both the story and the pictures have this heavy-handed melancholy that I don't believe is earned. Who is the intended audience? No children I know would like this one bit. I thought we would get different interesting bottle messages, but the text of only one message is included in the book. Very disappointing.
April Moody
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite picture books of the year! I love illustrator, Erin E Stead- and the story was completely charming.
The uncorker of ocean bottles has the job to open any bottle found washed up on shore and make sure the message is delivered to the right person... When a message washes up with no name attached, he tries to find who it belongs to and in the end finds what he most desires.
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Michelle Cuevas was born in 1982 in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. She graduated from Williams College and holds a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Virginia, where she received the Henry Hoyns Fellowship. 

Michelle is the author of The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow illustrated by Sydney Smith, national bestseller  The Uncorker of