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Ocean Meets Sky

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Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.

Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!

And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

48 pages, Hardcover

First published May 15, 2018

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About the author

Terry Fan

17 books141 followers
Terry Fan received his formal art training at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. His work is a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques, using ink or graphite mixed with digital. He spends his days (and nights) creating magical paintings, portraits, and prints. Terry is the cocreator of The Night Gardener, It Fell from the Sky, and Lizzy and the Cloud. Born in Illinois, he now lives in Toronto.

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5 stars
1,725 (50%)
4 stars
1,139 (33%)
3 stars
438 (12%)
2 stars
99 (2%)
1 star
27 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 673 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
November 15, 2018
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books. This is book #16 (of 20) of 2018, one of the books where I look like an old curmudgeon compared to my family, who largely loved this book which is about kid wanting to see his Grandpa again and imagining his way to him.

Lyra (11): 4.5 stars. This was a very sweet book with beautiful pictures.

Hank (12): 4.5 stars. I liked when he saw his Grandpa again. Good drawing.

Harry (13): 4.5 stars. I loved the pictures and it was touching.

Tara: 5 stars. I thought this was very touching. Plus, great fantasy and steampunk art.

Dave: 3 stars. This is a book ostensibly about grief, and how to honor the departed. Sentimental story, nice enough, but there's little there about Grandpa or the boy's relationship to him, really. I think the book is mainly about the opportunity to create great art. The place where ocean meets the sky provides the imaginative space to find Grandpa.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,869 reviews31.2k followers
April 4, 2019
This book is that perfect combination of imagination, whimsy and a sense of myth grounded in reality. I love the artwork. I remember Fantasia 2000 and the ‘Pines of Rome’ segment when the wales took to the sky. As you can see from the cover, the whales are once again flying in the sky like an ocean. I just love that idea.

This book is also about a young boy who lost his grandfather and he needs a way to say goodbye to him. The story is for beginners and this is a diverse story with Asian ideas in it. I love the little boy and the boat he builds. I love how he gets to say goodbye to his grandfather. I found this book to be magical. Simply magical. I love it.

The kids really loved this book too. The nephew gave it 5 stars and the niece gave this 4 stars. They were both swept away in the imagination of this story. I love to see that.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,121 reviews104 followers
September 30, 2019
When I first paged through Terry and Eric Fan’s Ocean Meets Sky, I do have to admit I was a trifle annoyed that the Fans’ presented narrative is rendered so simplistically and with much verbal sparseness. That is, I was frustrated until I began to slowly but surely realise and understand that first and foremost Ocean Meets Sky is obviously meant to be a mostly illustrative journey, that it is almost totally picture oriented, with the accompanying text providing in my opinion simply a bit of supplemental verbal guidance.

And indeed, not really all that much if at all focussing (except for some textual reassurance if required) on the Fan brothers’ printed words but rather on their large and mostly glowingly luminous illustrations has made me not only appreciate but also absolutely love and cherish Ocean Meets Sky. For the pictures are not only truly aesthetically marvellous and visually rich, they also evocatively and engagingly show young Finn’s dreamlike sailing journey to where according to his deceased grandfather the ocean meets the sky as both an absolute visual delight and equally paying homage to the memory of his grandfather, full of whimsy, full of magic, full of unbridled imagination (with the added sweetness that upon waking from his sailing dream, Finn is told that he and his family will be dining on his grandfather’s special dumplings).

Utterly aesthetically enchanting and highly recommended is Ocean Meets Sky (and while I have loved ALL of Terry and Eric Fan’s illustrations, my personal favourite is naturally the picture of the Library Islands and not only that there are many famous world literature tomes depicted but that yes, one of the featured book titles is also, and I do have to smile here, the Fan brothers’ The Night Gardener).
Profile Image for Jenna.
Author 9 books326 followers
January 28, 2019
I liked this book a lot. The whimsical steampunk-ish illustrations are brimful of charming details that could keep any adult or child reader engrossed for hours -- a truly inspired mix of whale, fish, bird, and ship imagery. The story is an ambitious blend of light and heavy, realistic and dreamy: it concerns a small boy, Finn, whose grandfather has recently passed away in his old age. Finn reminisces on his loving relationship with his grandfather, a raconteur whose fantastical stories nourished the young boy's imagination. In what is ultimately revealed to be a dream, Finn builds a boat and undertakes a solo nautical journey, assisted by a talking fish guide, in the hopes of reuniting with his grandfather in the paradise where "ocean meets sky"; along the way, he encounters some visually lovely mythic islands populated by book-reading birds and giant shells. In the end, his mother affectionately wakes him up for dinner; though he is never able to reunite with his grandfather in the way he most desires, he is sustained in his bereavement by the power of imagination and the loving presence of his family.

By the way, it is worth mentioning that Finn, his mother, and his grandfather all have Asian facial features and the dinner Finn wakes up to is a traditional dumpling dish. As someone who grew up in a time when Asians were very rarely represented in English-language picture books (other than as oddities), and even more rarely represented in English-language picture books created by authors of Asian heritage, I absolutely loved this unobtrusive integration of Asian characters and Asian cultural elements into the book.

(Part of my informal "Goodreads Reviews of Quality Whale-Themed Picture Books" series.)
Profile Image for Shelle Perry.
483 reviews30 followers
July 20, 2018
Epic is the first adjective that comes to mind with this picture book by The Fan Brothers. Finn lives by the sea. On what would have been his grandfather’s ninetieth birthday, he finds himself missing his grandfather’s stories and wisdom. To honor his grandfather he builds a small boat and, exhausted, falls asleep. Upon waking he finds himself sailing to that mysterious place his grandfather told him about where the ocean meets the sky.

The artwork so easily conveys the magic of this place with cloud pictures, giant sea creatures, The Library islands with its bookish birds along with air and sea vessels of every kind converging there. Children will read this book time and again just pull some new beautiful detail out of it.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,589 reviews191 followers
March 15, 2019
I understand this is a story about a kid mourning his grandfather. I think the fantastical dreams (lovely, lovely illustrations) the boy has are influenced by the stories and conversations with his grandfather. It's not a straightforward story about dealing with grief. It feels more like a celebration of the good times Finn had with his grandfather.
All of my rambling above is a way for me to say that I loved the way this book looked, and the way it handled the gentle reflections of a loved one. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,244 reviews3,563 followers
January 7, 2019
I was really intrigued by the cover of this one. The illustrations looked gorgeous, and some of them are. I wasn't absolutely in love with the story, though, and the writing had some problems.

Finn builds a boat on what would have been his grandfather's ninetieth birthday. It whisks him away on a magical adventure, eventually leading him to the place his grandfather talked about: where the ocean meets the sky. The story itself is fine; as a dream/fantasy, it works. The reader can clearly see how much Finn and his grandfather loved each other, even if the grandfather isn't even present in most of the book. Unlike Ida and the Whale, another picture book about a magical journey that I just read, the goal is more clearly spelled out. Finn really wants to find the place his grandfather talked about. I did like how that journey had a well-defined end. I'm just not sure if the story held my interest as an adult reader.

The beginning of the book has illustrations that are a bit more muted. I guess that's supposed to show the mundane ordinary world... but I found them kind of dull and boring. Once Finn gets into the fantasy, the pictures are much more engaging. I particularly liked the island of giant shells and the sea of jellyfish. The great golden fish, though, I found a bit terrifying; he acts as Finn's guide, so he's kind of a necessary part of the story, but I'm not sure how he'd go over with little kids.

The writing is fairly sparse, which makes me a bit annoyed that it couldn't have been polished to perfection. As it is, there are a number of sentence fragments. I don't like seeing stuff like that in children's books, since many kids absorb a lot of grammar lessons simply by reading.

I probably shouldn't have judged a book by its cover, but I did, and that led to a bit of disappointment. There are certainly some beautiful illustrations within the book, but they're not all as magical as what's depicted on the outside.
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,230 reviews398 followers
October 23, 2021
A young boy builds a boat in memory of his Grandfather on what would have been his 90th birthday. What starts as play soon becomes a magical and dreamlike adventure. Finn travels across oceans meeting wonderful ocean creatures, passing islands made of books, climbing on giant shells and eventually floating up to where the ocean meets the sky where he sees a familiar face watching over him.

The illustrations in this story are absolutely beautiful, the ocean creatures are spectacular to look at and the story has a very comforting feel, despite the fact the young boy misses his Grandfather the story has a subtle and reassuring message that a loved one can live on in your memory. This is a beautiful and peaceful story of happy memories and imaginative play
Profile Image for Skip.
3,285 reviews395 followers
November 13, 2018
Goodreads nomination for Best Children's book in 2018.

Beautifully illustrated and a sweet, whimsical story about a boy remembering his grandfather.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,110 reviews186 followers
November 1, 2018
The fantastically talented Fan Brothers, Terry and Eric, who made their debut with The Night Gardener , return in Ocean Meets Sky, the second picture-book that they have written and illustrated together. Here they follow the story of Finn, a young boy who is missing his (presumably deceased) grandfather. On the day his grandfather would have been ninety, Finn builds himself a ship and sets sail to find that place, mentioned many times by his elderly relative, where the ocean meets the sky. Along the way he encounters many wonders, taking a serene voyage into a fantastic dreamscape...

Although I have enjoyed everything this talented pair have produced, from the aforementioned The Night Gardener , which they both wrote and illustrated, to The Antlered Ship , which they illustrated for author Dashka Slater, I think Ocean Meets Sky is the Fan Brothers' best work yet! The artwork here is breathtakingly beautiful, and there are multiple two-page spreads I would happily hang on my wall, if they were available as prints or posters. The scene with the moon jellies stands out to me, as does the one in which Finn's ship hangs in mid-air (or is it mid-ocean?), together with two magnificent whales, numerous other sea (and air) creatures, and various other conveyances, from sailing ships to air balloons. It truly is a marvelously inventive, gorgeously realized dream-scene! The story itself is emotionally resonant, without ever feeling overdone or manipulative, and touches on issues of death, grief and memory, as well as the power of dreams. Highly recommended, to all fellow Fan Brothers fans, to anyone who appreciates beautiful picture-books, and to anyone looking for children's stories about loss, grief, and the places our dreams can take us.
Profile Image for Brittany.
857 reviews112 followers
November 1, 2018
5 Sailing Stars!!!

Picked up this Beautiful Gem at my local library last week for my daughter and just realized its up for a Goodreads Choice Award! Its a new picture book about a young boy who builds a boat, and sets sail to find a place his grandfather told him about…the spot where the ocean meets the sky. Full of Gorgeous illustrations, this one is sure to captivate young readers, as they too, read and sail along, on this Magical Journey.
Profile Image for K.J. Mecklenfeld.
Author 8 books104 followers
May 15, 2018
Am scris pentru ea un mic articol pe blogul meu.
Musai de avut în bibliotecă :-).
Profile Image for Kimberly.
3,979 reviews83 followers
January 26, 2019
Here's how special this book is: my toddler, who has never experienced the death of a loved one and therefore has no idea about the process of grief and healing, understands what is going on in this book. While it is never explicitly stated that Finn's grandfather has passed, and never says that Finn misses him, my son understood. At one point during our second or third reading he said, "I miss my grandpa too!" Thankfully, his grandpas and his great-grandpa are all still with us, but I was amazed that the Fan brothers managed to convey this so clearly through the sparse text and the illustrations...well enough that a two-year-old understood that Finn was experiencing loss. That's really something.

The illustrations in this book are breathtaking. I wish I could have several of them as prints. My son is absolutely enchanted by them, particularly the ones featuring whales. He has requested this book almost every night for the past week, sometimes twice per night. He studies the pictures and asks questions--it is the coolest thing. Major kudos to the Fan brothers for making a difficult topic so beautiful and accessible.
Profile Image for Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*.
780 reviews130 followers
April 3, 2019
I don't usually rate picture books here, although I read enough of them with my children, but I have had this one on my 'to-read' list for some time so it deserves a formal send-off. It is an absolutely lovely, short, wonder-filled journey in a dream-land. The framework is that a boy dreams that he journeys across the sea in a boat that he built in honor of his grandfather, now deceased, to the place where the ocean meets the sky. There are a couple of brief visits to places along the way, such as Library Island (my fave). There are all constrained to single two-page spreads. There is no real action, and the sense of loss is perfectly muted (my 4-year old hasn't notably picked up on the implication of death). Rather, the book conveys a serene sense of wonder and gentle magic. Only parents and older kids will pick up on all of the details, visual and otherwise.

This can be compared to David Wiesner's wordless Flotsam but Ocean Meets Sky will appeal to a younger audience and is more emotional work.
Profile Image for Angelina.
682 reviews79 followers
August 20, 2019
Four stars for the text (it’s not so much of a story but more of a dream journey) and five shining stars for the stunning illustrations! I’m turning into a huge fan of The Fan Brothers.
Profile Image for Vi.
77 reviews11 followers
January 22, 2023
Beautifully illustrated story with a simple yet moving storyline.
Profile Image for Beverly.
5,159 reviews4 followers
September 27, 2019
Beautiful graphite and digitally colored illustrations, which are realistic and exquisitely executed and detailed. The little boy's fantastic dream takes him past stacks of books, giant sea shells, a blue whale, jellyfish, and many other things. The golden fish that guides him has a mustache and beard suspiciously like his late grandfather's. His grandfather had been the one to tell him stories about the place where "ocean meets sky," and so the boy searches for that place in his dream.
Profile Image for Kifflie.
1,432 reviews4 followers
June 17, 2018
Young Finn builds a boat to honor his late grandfather, who spoke to him often about exploring the magical place where the ocean meets the sky. But building is hard work, so Finn falls asleep afterwards, and his dreams take him to all sorts of wondrous places. The artwork is the usual Fan brothers gorgeousness. I just wish it hadn't been a dream.
Profile Image for Scottsdale Public Library.
3,220 reviews210 followers
July 21, 2018
A lovely picture book that celebrates familial bonds, as a boy honors the memory of his grandfather by constructing a boat: one he will journey on to where the ocean meets sky, based on tales his grandfather told. Explores imagination and contains beautiful illustrations by Eric Fan. - Sara Z.
Profile Image for Colona Public Library.
1,062 reviews20 followers
November 20, 2018
A small boy who is thinking of his deceased grandfather drifts off to sleep and has an adventure.
Some nice illustrations, I love when kids get to go into a dreamland and explore themselves or memories of a loved one. ~Ashley
Profile Image for Maggie Librarian.
344 reviews5 followers
November 23, 2018
Truly exceptional!
A boy who misses his grandpa goes off on an fantastic boat ride to find the place his grandfather often spoke of, where the ocean meets the sky. Beautiful imaginative illustrations, and heart warming exploration of loss and love.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 673 reviews

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