Oliver and the Seawigs Review
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At this time of the year, moms and dads are on the lookout for great summer reads—light, entertaining stories to pack in their bags for family vacations and afternoons by the pool. While you’re searching for your perfect beach read, though, think about the kids, too—and pick up a copy of Oliver and the Seawigs, a fun-filled high-seas tale by author Philip Reeve and illustrator Sarah McIntyre.

This adventure for young readers follows 10-year-old Oliver Crisp as he takes to the seas to rescue his parents. After spending his life on one excursion after another, Oliver is eager to settle down with his parents and live in a real house on Deepwater Bay. But as soon as they arrive at their home, Oliver’s parents race off to explore the mysterious islands nearby. And when most of the islands disappear, taking his parents with them, Oliver sets out to do some exploring of his own.

What Oliver discovers is that the islands in the bay were actually Rambling Isles—gigantic living creatures that travel the seas, collecting washed-up debris that they turn into fabulous wigs to display every seven years at the Night of the Seawigs. Determined to find his parents and bring them home to Deepwater Bay, he sets out, joined by an angry albatross, a timid isle, and a nearsighted mermaid.

With its quirky characters, its action-packed adventures, and its inspired illustrations, Oliver and the Seawigs is sure to spark young readers’ imagination. With every turn of the page, there’s a wacky new discovery—from moving land masses and long-lost shipwrecks to sinister sea monkeys and other strange creatures—and McIntyre’s amusing illustrations bring them all to life in a way that will entertain kids and parents, too.

Though many young readers may not be able to relate to Oliver’s desire to live a normal life—or his enthusiasm for going to school—they’ll love following along on his far-from-normal excursions. Throughout his quest to save his parents, this bright young explorer faces all kinds of dangers, but he also makes some wonderful friends, who are (generally) willing to help him along the way.

More than just an exciting, high-seas adventure, though, Oliver and the Seawigs also takes readers on an exciting adventure with words. The writing is delightfully clever, filled with the kind of whimsical words that will instill kids with an early love of language—yet they’ll be so engrossed in Oliver’s imaginative journey that they probably won’t even realize that they’re learning something, too.

If you (and your kids) love action, language, and silly pictures as much as I do, don’t miss Oliver and the Seawigs. It’s a breezy little book that makes the perfect beach read for young bookworms. It might even inspire them to head out on their own inventive adventures once they reach the story’s end.

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