Mister Seahorse and fellow fish fathers who care for their soon-to-be-hatched offspring, share their stories while acetate pages reveal camouflaged creatures who bear witness to the conversation between fathers with fins.
STARRED REVIEW *“In this original, entirely engaging book, Carle adds to his rich cache of endearing animal characters while delivering some intriguing information about several underwater species. Father fish come to the forefront here—and deservedly so. When Mrs.Seahorse announces that it is time for her to lay her eggs, Mr. Seahorse affably asks, “Can I help?” She then lays her eggs into a pouch in the belly of her mate, who earnestly announces, “I’ll take good care of our eggs….I promise.” Then, drifting through the sea, the expectant pater meets up with other fish who are also carrying—or protecting—eggs, such as Mr. Tilapia, who carries eggs in his mouth, and Mr.Kurtus, who has stuck his mate’s eggs on top of his head. Chipper Mr. Seahorse gives each words of encouragement (“Keep up the good work”; “You must be very happy”; “You are doing a fine job”). Between each of Mr.Seahorse’s encounters, he unknowingly swims by other sea creatures, cleverly camouflaged behind curtains of seaweed, a coral reef and a rock. Yet readers spy all of these hidden critters when they lift acetate pages, adding a delightful dimension to this first-rate fish tale, capped by a winsome, child-confidence-building finale. In his elegant painted tissue-paper collages, Carle innovatively balances pastel hues with shocks of brilliant color, creating an appealing seascape that succeeds swimmingly. Ages 4-up.”
– Publisher’s Weekly, February 16, 2004
STARRED REVIEW *“The striking single seahorse gracing the cover of this tribute to aquatic fatherhood could never be mistaken as anything other than one of Carle’s consummately creative collage creatures. The graphically arresting cover leads to rows of baby seahorses swimming across the endpapers and then on to a wonderful variety of jewel-toned fish set against white backgrounds with just the suggestion of pale blue and green waves in bold strokes of watercolor. The star of this underwater show, Mr. Seahorse, swims through his underwater home as he carries the eggs that Mrs. Seahorse has laid. He greets other fathers that are carrying eggs or caring for their young, complimenting each fish on his fine work. The father fish alternate with other kinds of fish that Mr. Seahorse doesn’t see because they are hiding behind camouflage elements such as seaweed and coral, which are overprinted on clear, acrylic pages. These camouflage pages illustrate how different kinds of fish can hide themselves, but as each of these special pages is turned to cover Mr. Seahorse, the reader sees how he can hide himself as well. The simple, thoughtfully told story includes repetitive phrases and a predictable structure with an emotionally satisfying ending as Mr. Seahorse sends his babies out into the watery world.”
– Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2004