Town Is by the Sea Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-10-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"This is such a beautifully written and illustrated book. The contrast between the town by the sea and the coal miners working below the sea brings such an interesting perspective to the book. I love that it is set in Cape Breton (my husband and I had our honeymoon there). Sydney Smith paints stunning ocean scenes, and it makes me feel like I am right there, standing on the shore, looking out at the sea. My two daughters, ages 7 and 9, loved the story and the repetitive phrases. They were also wowed by the illustrations. " said.

" I am giving this 5 stars mainly for the illustrations. Along with the design of the book it is just absolutely stunning. The blank square as the children are swinging, the repeated double page spreads of the coal miners under the sea, the wide sparking sea -another dramatic double page spread ... the drama that build as you fear the worse. It's beautiful and sad at the same time-even though the boy is enjoying childhood...there is just something melancholy about it. " said.

"A boy tells the story of his very ordinary day by the seaside while his father works underground digging coal. This somber story is supported by muted illustrations that set the mood for a sunny summer day by the ocean in stark contrast to the backbreaking work going on under the sea. Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz is a book to read again and again with children 4 - 10 to explore the lovely illustrations and how they tell the story and support the text. This might make a great book to introduce a classroom unit on natural resources. " said.

"This is a story of a coal mining family in 1950s Britain. The father mines the coal under the ocean in the dark depths of the mine. The boy plays by the beautiful bright sea. The grandfather's gravestone looks out over the ocean. The family looks at the sunset over the sea as they rest on their porch. The boy anticipates his descent into the dark mine like his father and his father before him. The text is simple and poetic. The illustrations are a wonderful contrast of the bright sea and the black dark of the mine." said.

"In poetic text a boy describes the events of his day in relation to the events of his father's day working in the coal mines. In the end, readers learn the importance of all the details surrounding the father's day as the boy will grow up to work in the mines just as his father and grandfather and most other men in the town have done for generations.

Ink, watercolor, and gouache artwork is beautiful, especially the scene in which the sun is shining on the sea. I also really liked the color palette and the use of thick black lines used as outlines; it adds such a poetic layer to the story in which the coal mining is ever present and frames everything about the town. K-4.
" said.

"First of all, the art is just gorgeous and perfectly fits this book. From the underground spreads in the mines, to the dark bits of land against the bright sea scenes, the coal colored dark lines remain present & follow you from beginning to end. There's a beautiful melancholy to it.

I'm throwing this into the category of children's books that might be more for adults than kids though. I'm just not sure this would resonate with children the way it did for me. That said, I can see this possibly being a useful tool to bring a human element into a history lesson in an upper elementary or middle school classroom. It absolutely deserves its space on the library shelf.
" said.

"The illustrations are beautiful -- truly lovely -- and the tone and the rhythm are lulling, and the book does allude to the personal danger of mine collapses to miners. Apart from that, it feels like a total romanticization of miners, mining families, and mining towns, and, while coal has contributed to local, regional, and global economies, it's also brought along social ills that come with boom-and-bust towns, corporate greed, and an industry and product that has supremely negative effects on health and environment. So, yeah, I can't simply get all swoony over pretty pictures and a serene but hard-working family story. That being said, I could see people who come from mining people finding pride in this, and there's probably a place for that." said.

"Wow. Haunting and poetic, a quiet book with a wee bit of tension. The boy narrator talks of the sea and we are shown the expanse and brightness of this world. He talks of his father mining coal beneath the sea and most of the page is black with a small portion at the bottom showing miners hunched over with headlamps. The tension builds as no miners are shown and the small open bit at the bottom of the blackness is closing. The father comes home, dusty from the mine, and a blackness lurks under the kitchen table as the family eats dinner. As he falls asleep, the boy considers his father's life and how one day it will be his turn. Wonderfully executed, text and artwork work together. In the end it is night and there is the dark hillside with village lights, the sea with a few boats, and the sky with some dots of starlight. A moving homage to miners and their families. Set in the 1950s" said.

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