Oliver and the Seawigs

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by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Overall: An amazing book with beautiful illustrations, a hilarious plot, and fun for both children and adults!

I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Rambling isles, sarcastic seaweed, seawigs, and plump nearsighted mermaids, oh my!

“Oliver and the Seawigs” is absolutely one of the best children’s books that I have read in a while. It’s funny, captivating, and I found myself being emotionally attached to the characters. I ate up this book in one morning, and I was begging for more, wanting to read more of Oliver, Cliff, Mr.Culpeper, and lovely Iris!

The story begins with Oliver, who is the only of two wild and adventurous explorers. All he wishes is for a normal life, with friends and not having to move around. But when all of a sudden his parents disappear, Oliver must go on an adventure to rival all other adventures. Atop the rambling isle Cliff, Oliver travels with Mr. Culpeper the albatross and Iris the nearsighted mermaid.

Most people would be a bit alarmed to find that their parents had disappeared along with a whole bunch of uncharted islands. They might feel inclined to call the police, or the coast guard, or just run about shouting. Not Oliver. He was a Crisp, and made of sterner stuff than that. 

You’re going to love this book. The humor is simple and fun, but not childish. The sarcastic seaweed and the adorable seamonkeys bring a whimsical touch. The characters feel real, and you become so very invested it’s almost unnatural (I can’t believe I shipped characters from a children’s book!) The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and blend in perfectly with the narrative as well as the About the Author and Illustrator sections at the end of the book. It is a short read but I was very captivated by the illustrations that I just took the time to look at it all. The details in the hair and seawigs are intricate, and clearly the illustrators took a long time in designing and making each beautiful piece.


“My name,” the boy said importantly, “is Stacy de Lacey.”

“But that’s a girl’s name!” blurted Oliver.

Stacey de Lacey’s face turned a dark shade of red.. “Silence!” he shouted. “Stacy is one of those names that can be for a boy or a girl! Like Hilary, or Leslie, or…um…Anyway…”

However, one of my favorite aspects of “Oliver and the Seawigs” is the character Iris. There is not often that you see a character in a book (no matter the genre) that is plump just for the sake of being so. She is a bigger girl but that is not an aspect of hers that is focused on or mocked, she just happens to be that way. There aren’t many books that cater to this demographic, without having to involve a plot or subplot involving the character’s weight. It’s refreshing, and–I would say–very progressive.

“So that’s what you look like!” she said, peering at Oliver through the thick lenses. “Oh.”

“What do you mean, ‘Oh’?” asked Oliver.

“Nothing,” said Iris. 

Overall! I love this book. I’ve ordered my own copy so that I can keep it forever. I highly recommend this book to any parent who wants to enjoy a book with their kid…well…and pretty much everyone who wants to have a fun and lighthearted adventure with beautiful pictures to match. Go out and buy this book, then get dressed up in your finest seawig and hop aboard a Rambling Isle! And don’t forget the sea monkeys!

This was, by far, the most comfortable way to go exploring. 



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