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Olive's Ocean Critiques

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Kevin Henkes is an amazing writer. From beginning to end I could not put down

his book, Olive's Ocean. I can definitely see why his book is a Newbery Honor Book.

From the dust jacket alone this book peaks my interest. Henkes shows a pair of

feet standing in water and some fish swimming around, that oddly enough look similar

to coy fish, which are not ocean fish. On the back of the dust jacket, is an amazing

excerpt from the book, revealing the part where Martha, the main character, almost

drowns. I couldn't read fast enough once I finished this passage. I just wanted to get

to that part of the book and find out what happens to Martha. When opening the book

the size of the print and the length of the chapters was very inviting. I felt that as a

child I would not be intimidated, as it appears to be an easy read for children between 9

and 13 years of age.

I absolutely loved this story. In this book, Henkes touches on a lot of emotions

and situations that a twelve year old girl would go through in life. He made it very

personal and I feel that his young readers would identify with that. The fact that

Martha's grandmother is getting old and Martha is starting to worry about her death is

huge in the life of a preteen. I can remember worrying about the same thing as a child.

Martha's first kiss is another rather personal event in the story. The fact that Jimmy

tricked her into it added a twist to the story and helped build excitement and interest.

I enjoyed the setting of this book. The ocean is one of my favorite places, and I

grew up just a short distance from Cap Cod, so I could relate to the sounds and smell

Henkes portrays in his book. When I was a child I spent a lot of time on the ocean

shore collecting cohogs (clams) with my grandparents. These are some of my most

cherished memories.

The theme of this story seems to be that of death and dying. Up until I actually

stepped back and thought about it, I had not even realized that. I was so into the story

line and Henkes made his book so wonderfully light and exciting that I honestly did not

pick up on the fact



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