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Swashby and the Sea
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Swashby and the Sea

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  879 ratings  ·  189 reviews
A sweet-and-salty friendship story perfect for pirate-lovers learning new ways to communicate while at a distance. This hilarious picture book will keep emerging readers laughing, and the message-related mishaps in the story create an opportunity for spelling and sounding out new words while learning from home!

Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 5th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  879 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Ms. B
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Kids will enjoy figuring out how the sea is rewording Swashby's messages in the sand. Messages that are intended for his neighbors. Adults will like how it's similar to game of telephone in the sand. ...more
Laura Harrison
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: omg-cant-wait, 2020
I am over the moon for Swashby by the Sea. It is everything a perfect (possibly classic) children’s picture book should be. Clever, humorous, warm and absolutely beautiful. It is a 2021 Caldecott hopeful for sure.
Featured in a grandma reads.

There's a certain sort of person, poker-faced on the scowly side. Eeyore-like responses. Never admits to happiness, much less joy. You'd like to call them curmudgeonly, but they are just as stingy with their insults as they are with any spoken word. And yet. . . they don't seem so down and out. They have as much stuff as you, are in the same places as you and you can spare a kind word, a smile now and then. . . .

Well, then comes this book, complete with one of those.
Kris Patrick
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Be sure to read this one aloud with an easel or digital whiteboard nearby!
Jun 04, 2020 added it
Shelves: picture-book
I think it’s my new favorite picture book 💜💜💜
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nadine Jones
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Charming and fun!

The theme of "cranky loner who finally learns to appreciate friendship" has been done SO many times in children's books. On the face of it, this is a theme I do not appreciate, because I am a cranky loner and leave me a lone, do not pester me! And yet there are so many picture books with this theme that I adore!

Here we have Swashby, retired sailor, who lives in a little shack by the sea, completely contented and ALONE, and confident that the sea will provide anything he needs.
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Swashby and the Sea has beautiful illustrations and an outstanding story as well!
Sweet illustrations, sweet story and a heartwarming tale of a grumpy fisherman and how his connectivity to the sea opens up his heart;
Holly Mueller
Such a sweet story! Perfect for teaching dynamic characters, character development, and/or redemption. Love the repetition of "the sea fiddled, just a little". Delightful! ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrensbooks
Oh, I like this one. An old salty sailor retires only to find that an adorable little girl and her grandmother have moved in next door. The illustrations are DISTINGUISHED! The book offers opportunity to discussion and word play. You can't miss with this one. ...more
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
An age-old tale. Old curmudgeon vs cute child. No contest.
Chance Lee
Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-it
Great pictures but I would love a book in which someone who wants to be left alone is just left alone and happy that way lol
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Captain Swashby just wanted to retire all alone by his longtime friend: the one who he loved and who he felt knew him, the sea. Since he retired, the sea had provided everything he ever needed and Swashby enjoyed his quiet, sandy beachfront world until a granny and her granddaughter moved in next door.

Swashby’s new neighbors were just being friendly but he didn’t want neighbors and he sure didn’t want them to be disturbing his current lifestyle.

Swashby tried to communicate with these new arriv
What can I say but that this is one I had to wait for and also have to turn in without renewing because of so many holds! Captain Swashby, old sea captain, retires to a small house, a lonely place which is exactly as he wished it. As Beth Ferry so aptly writes, it was "Salty and sandy and serene. Until" the house next door was suddenly occupied by a girl and her granny. They intruded too, too close so Swashby left some angry words in the sand, "No Trespassing". The sea had other ideas, however, ...more
Great illustrations and a great message. Swashby lives by himself near the sea. The sea gives him everything he needs and at the right times. Life is what he wants until he gets visitors. Find out what happens by reading this book.
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Really sweet book about the power of taking risks and meeting new people. Listening to "the sea" can be a good way to make new friends. ...more
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Awww...this is a great little book about communication and being human. Sometimes I am Swashby and sometimes I am his neighbors. ...more
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: inter-generational friendship and sea stories
Recommended to June by: lGoodreads
The sea plays an integral part in helping an old retired sea captain become friends with his new young neighbor.

Maybe more of a 3.5, but I loved the sea as a character.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Captain Swasby had plans to retire by the sea away from people, and live out his life peaceful and serene, but all that was about to change when new neighbors moved in next door. This delightful tale is for the sea faring and the land lubber alike.
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this. Sweet story, adorable illustrations, and the class enjoyed it, too! I’ll reread this forever!
Lisa D
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! This is one of my new favorite books!
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much! This may be one of my top picture books of the year. For some reason Swashby spooked my kiddo, so I read this one without a child. Martinez-Neal's illustrations are adorable, as always, and the message is absolutely perfect! I love it! <3 ...more
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is the eve of the 2020 election. Obviously more people, myself included, needed to read more cute books, like this, about making friends this year. :)
Swashby and the Sea is a sweet one. A great choice for story time. Ferry constructs a rhythmic tale and the personality of the characters were quick to take on distinct voices in my head. Martinez-Neal evokes the sounds of the sea and its coastline, and the life of that sea foam and those heads of hair alone! Whew! The girl and her granny’s hair are divine. And I had to smile when Swashby finally takes off his hat, he looked like a recent co-worker of mine; that comb-over rolling across his head ...more
Such a sweet book for me to enjoy, however for the intended audience I think it misses the mark. The sea is personified and gendered which was hard for my 3 year old to really grasp. The illustrations do not match the words perfectly which always is a huge bummer in picture books. As I read the words, the kids are looking for the pictures and everything is not there. The storyline also requires children to be readers to really grasp it. My 5 year old liked it but I had to explain a lot to him, w ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Swashby is retired from a life on the sea, and he chooses to isolate himself, far away from others, in a cabin by the ocean. And then neighbors arrive, a granny and her granddaughter, and his life is flipped upside down. Swashby resists, and resists, leaving messages in the sand, but the sea thwarts his efforts, and eventually the three become true friends.

Enchanting characters. Beautiful illustrations. And the happy resonance of the development of friendship in the lives of people.
Carol  V
What a heartfelt story about an old man who has retired to the sea and likes having NOBODY to bother him. One day, a young mom and little girl move in next door. They so want to be his friend. Slowly, he sees the value of their friendship. He leaves messages for the family and the sea tampers with them, of course. This is so humorous! The pictures are a pure delight! What a great book!
Juli Anna
Jul 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I love a good story about a grump becoming less grumpy, and this is a very fine example. The wordplay that happens with the writing on the beach is an adorable premise, and the illustrations are a joy.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Sweet girl bonds with an old salt.
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Beth Ferry is the author of the picture books Stick and Stone and Land Shark. Her family has cared for myriad pets, including two land sharks, a hedgehog, a blue-tongued skink, and a heap of hamsters, but her absolutely perfect pet is an English bulldog named Winston. She lives in New Jersey.

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