Quotes at the top,
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These stories have captured the ocean
|If you've ever gazed dreamily out to sea, spotted a lone buoy
bobbing and blinking, and let your imagination float along with it, you'll find a friend
in Bruce Balan's Buoy. It's not such a lonely life for Buoy--after all, Gull is usually
perched atop his red light, and Seal lounges at his "feet." These three friends
live a rewarding life under the Sky and Stars--enriched by visits from Shark, a raft of
Crabs floating on an old egg carton, and even a singing pod of Whales: "Porpoise said
[the Whales' song] told of the first day of the Sea. And how the first Whale swam on that
first day. And how the first Whale sang. And how the song created itself and everything
else as well. There was much more, but it was too ancient for any of them ever to
Buoys will be buoys--he lives for a "Ship-Coming." When a ship does come, he flashes his light and proudly rings his bell, whispering, "Stay to the west" to shield the ship from danger. Buoy also saves a family adrift during a storm, makes music with his friends, analyzes the Green Flash that occurs just before sunset, plays games with the Clouds, and engages in debates with his Sea-dwelling friends. In gentle, winsome prose, Balan spins a simple story of an ocean life, embedding his quiet philosophy of the interconnectedness of all things, the importance of friendship, the fragile ecology of our planet, and the deep mysticism of being--messages that have inspired some to compare this small book to The Little Prince and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Raúl Colón, illustrator of Tomás and the Library Lady and A Weave of Words graces Balan's poetic text with his radiant, textured scratchboard illustrations that capture the exuberant, uplifting--can we say buoyant?--spirit of Buoy and his buddies. (All ages)
|The sea is full of great stuff: the things you can see, the
weird and marvelous creatures, the serendipitous finders of treasures, the textures and
patterns and colors. And then there are the things you can only hear or feel. The sea
brings you these things and strips you clean, in ways that voices as varied as Homer or
Melville or Anne Morrow Lindbergh have described. Here are three new voices, three love
letters that say in just enough words each what it is about the sea their authors cherish
so very much. Listen to ''Buoy'':
''Buoy rolled lazily on the long low swell of the
Sea. Buoy lived far from land; so far that only on the days when the Clouds raced against
each other and the Wind seemed a bit angry, could Buoy just barely, ever so slightly, make
out something to the east that was neither the Sea nor the Sky. But Buoy didn't mind at
all. He loved the Sea and the Sky. He loved their blueness and wondered how it could be
that his redness complemented them so perfectly.''
Can you see it? Can you hear it? These stories have captured the ocean so it takes your
breath away. And like the best children's books, they're not really children's books at
Buoy is the hero of ''Buoy.'' He loves his job and works very hard at it. ''Closer and closer. Larger and larger. The ship seemed to grow out of the Sea. Buoy felt its thrumming deep inside his belly. He rolled with the swell. He flashed his light and rang his bell. 'Stay to the west,' he whispered. 'Stay to the west.' '' Buoy has two buddies, Gull and Seal, and their days are marked by things like whale songs and oil slicks and a shark's passing. The whales are mysterious, and Buoy yearns for them; Shark is calm and pragmatic and speaks in lowercase letters only; the passing green flash is a conundrum each pal solves in his or her own way. (Seal, it turns out, is a she.) It is clear from the text that Bruce Balan is a sailor. Raul Colon's illustrations are like etched poems: both black-and-white and full-color plates that suggest the pictures already in your mind's eye.
19 July 1998
|Far out at sea, Buoy and his friends, Gull and
Seal, experience the infinite pleasures and challenges of being. Buoy will
touch the hearts of parents and children alike with a deceptively powerful
story that is at once simple and complex, ethereal and formidable, a
literary dance across the waves that celebrates life both when it is as
bright as sunlight on water and when it becomes as ferocious as the hunger
of an endlessly circling shark.
|In "Buoy: Home at Sea" by Bruce Balan, Buoy
provides a home at sea for his two friends, Gull and Seal. In a series of short tales,
they experience life at sea: visitors like Shark, boats large and small, and the wonders
of nature. The author's love of the sea is apparent in his thoughtful, uncomplicated
prose. Children as well as adults should enjoy this short stay at sea, sharing the three
friends' thoughts and experiences of everyday life in an environment that in many ways is
not so different from ours on land. I recommend this as a great gift as well as an
enjoyable and inspiring read at the beach.
1 October 1998
7 July 1998
|"Buoy, Home at Sea. This is a wonderful story. I think
there are 16 short little stories in here and they all take place with Buoy right in the
sea with all of his sea creatures. And they're wonderful, quiet and somewhat poetic. And I
think when you're on vacation, they're perfect - for reading a story a night, or a story
driving along in the car or on the airplane."
|Once you've read Bruce Balan's delightful Buoy, Home at Sea
(Delacorte; all ages) you will look at those common buoys bobbing on the ocean in a new
way. If a lapping wave causes the buoy to dip and rock and his bell to ring, you might
even find yourself wondering how his day was and what adventures he is having in his ocean
world. Buoy is a book the whole family can enjoy.
Very young children will enjoy this gentle poetic story of an ocean buoy, a seagull and a seal. The story is deceptively simple and older children will appreciate the poetic writing, the relationship between the three friends as well as the thoughtful messages. As for adults, I've been loaning this book out to rave reviews.
Beautifully and sensitively written, Buoy is enchanting and a must-read this summer! The story ends as Buoy muses happily about his little world, "Yes, he thought, this is home." Home - a perfect place for summertime reading adventures.
New In Books
San Mateo County Reading Association
|Three friends, the buoy, a seal and a seagull observe and
comment on the ocean and the ocean life around them. Lovely descriptions. Good for
environmental studies and creative writing.
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