Review by Meghan Flora
Many people are curious about what’s in the ocean, but what about what’s over the ocean? In this picturebook, a young Japanese child looks out over the vast body of water and asks the questions many of us don’t think about. “What kind of animals are over the ocean?” and “Is there night over the ocean?” the child asks. These questions give Over the Ocean a fantastical feel, and the pictorial narrative supplements this textual narrative perfectly. The vibrant colors and abstract artistic style create a new reality, where nothing is certain but anything is possible. If told only through words, the story of Over the Ocean might seem simple and juvenile; there are few words and many are repetitive. However, when the story is told in a sequential art format, it invites contemplation and can be enjoyed by any and all ages.
I think Over the Ocean is an appreciable picturebook for the purpose of stimulating curiosity and creativity. The text is entirely questions and ‘maybe’ statements, which encourages the reader to think. The questions being asked are very open-ended, giving the reader an opportunity to think outside the box. Over the Ocean could also be useful for teaching children not to be afraid of the ocean. The possibilities of what could be over the ocean mentioned are positive: like friends, fun rides, and beautiful stars. This focus on positive possibilities emphasize that though we might not know the answer to the question “what’s over the ocean?” it could be wonderful and shouldn’t cause fear.
Over the Ocean
by Taro Gomi
Chronicle Books LLC, 2016
Meghan is majoring in earth sciences, minoring in marine biology and climatology, and plans to study oceanography at the graduate level.