Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Review: Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun story and even better pictures
Cons: Cyrus’ motives at the beginning, but he doesn’t act on them
The Bottom Line:
Creative story
Made better by the pictures
Still entertaining

Three Cheers for Cyrus

I remembered liking Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent from when my family first read it years ago, so I was expecting to enjoy it when I picked it up from the library recently.  However, I wasn’t expecting just how much I would enjoy it.  This is a charming story from the pens of Bill Peet.

Cyrus the sea serpent is living an uneventful life.  In fact, he’s a little bored.  That’s why he takes a dare from a shark to attack a ship about to set sail.  However, his good nature wins out and he decides to try to help the ship reach land again.  But can he help them with all the dangers of the sea?

Yes, Cyrus’ reason for coming in contact with the boat is bad.  However, he never acts on his intentions and clearly has a good heart, so I don’t mind.  In fact, there are some subtle lessons here in doing the right thing in the end being the most important thing and the potential dangers of peer pressure.

The fact that the story is fun certainly helps.  Parents will easily see the outline of the story early on and the solutions aren’t necessarily that surprising.  However, they are still delightful.  Kids will certainly not expect much of what happens over the course of the story, so they will be entertained the entire way through.

Don’t forget to factor in Bill Peet’s delightful illustrations.  This guy was a master artist, and his pictures are always a delight.  But here they add a touch of humor to the story.  Some of them are quite funny even when the text isn’t.  This is especially true when Cyrus deals with the pirates.  Kids will find the pictures lots of fun, and I’ve got to admit I still enjoy them.

So if you are looking for a creative and different picture book, Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent should fit the bill.  Even all these years later, it is truly unsinkable.

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