The Wee Seal Paperback
by Janis Mackay
Illustrated by Gabby Grant
Part of the Picture Kelpies series
Jamie has been watching the wee white seal that lives on the beach.
At night the wee seal cuddles up to its mother. In the morning she goes out to sea and leaves it alone like a strange white stone on the sand. One day tourists come and crowd the wee seal but Jamie knows just what to do to protect it until its mother comes back... Janis Mackay's lyrical prose tells the story of the tender relationship between a wild baby seal and the young boy who watches over it, while Gabby Grant's soft illustrations brilliantly evoke the landscape of the Orkney Islands.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 24 pages, colour illustrations
- Publisher: Floris Books
- Publication Date: 19/09/2013
- Category: Picture storybooks
- ISBN: 9781782500209
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Review by AbigailAdams26
A wee white seal spends his days on the beach below Jamie's cottage in this picture-book from Scottish children's author Janis Mackay, who has also written the <i>Magnus Fin</i> series of children's fantasy novels. His mother, who must hunt in the sea for salmon and trout, returns to him every evening, and they spend their nights together. When a group of tourists arrive one day, and assume the seal is abandoned, frightening him with their intrusive behaviour, it falls to Jamie to protect the young animal he has long watched from afar.Part of Edinburgh-based Floris Books' <i>Picture Kelpies</i> line, intended to highlight and promote picture-books with a Scottish theme, <u>The Wee Seal</u> is, according to the blurb on the rear cover of the book, set in the Scottish islands. It addresses the important theme of having respect for wildlife, of interacting with wild things on their terms, and in ways that are beneficial to them, rather than seeking to gratify our own curiosity or desire for contact. Jamie keeps his distance, despite his obvious love for the baby seal, and the story encourages us to see that this is the right approach. Despite this praiseworthy message, and artwork that was quite appealing - my favourite scenes involved the seal himself, as seen on the cover illustration - I wasn't as engaged by The Wee Seal as I'd expected to be. Perhaps my knowledge of selkie lore, which often has a Scottish islands setting, had me expecting something a little more magical; or perhaps I wanted a little more insight into how Jamie was feeling, but somehow the story just didn't speak to me as I'd hoped. That said, it definitely has appeal, and I could easily see it being used in a story-hour about the natural world, and finding an appreciated audience in young animal lovers.