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See the Ocean

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A beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written picture book about Nellie, a little girl that is blind. Estelle Condra, the author who has experienced a severe loss of her sight, has told Nellie's story in such a way that it will bring tears to your eyes. A great story for teaching children about those that are less fortunate than they might be. A beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written picture book about Nellie, a little girl that is blind. Estelle Condra, the author who has experienced a severe loss of her sight, has told Nellie's story in such a way that it will bring tears to your eyes. A great story for teaching children about those that are less fortunate than they might be.


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A beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written picture book about Nellie, a little girl that is blind. Estelle Condra, the author who has experienced a severe loss of her sight, has told Nellie's story in such a way that it will bring tears to your eyes. A great story for teaching children about those that are less fortunate than they might be. A beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written picture book about Nellie, a little girl that is blind. Estelle Condra, the author who has experienced a severe loss of her sight, has told Nellie's story in such a way that it will bring tears to your eyes. A great story for teaching children about those that are less fortunate than they might be.

30 review for See the Ocean

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Indeed and truly, in all ways, I have massively appreciate and have more than sweetly and emotionaly enjoyed See the Ocean; both Estelle Condra's presented narrative and Linda Crockett-Blassingame's accompanying illustrations are poignant, evocative and just utterly lovely, always and forever complementing and mirroring each other (and especially the beach scenes and waterscapes really do show the magic of the ocean, the flowing, swirling, translucently mysterious sea). But yes, I also have to a Indeed and truly, in all ways, I have massively appreciate and have more than sweetly and emotionaly enjoyed See the Ocean; both Estelle Condra's presented narrative and Linda Crockett-Blassingame's accompanying illustrations are poignant, evocative and just utterly lovely, always and forever complementing and mirroring each other (and especially the beach scenes and waterscapes really do show the magic of the ocean, the flowing, swirling, translucently mysterious sea). But yes, I also have to admit that I am perhaps somewhat surprised at the fact that one does not get to actually and textually know about Nellie's blindness until almost the very end of See the Ocean. Sure, the author does leave multiple clues throughout the narrative that show/depict Nellie as being potentially visually challenged (she does not generally want to join in her brothers' games about who can first see the ocean, she does not fight for a window seat in the car, she is more attuned to the sound of the ocean, the texture of the sand, the caress of a salty sea breeze), but I wonder if a young child (if the target audience, the so-called picture book crowd) would easily catch all of these hints and clues (and as such See the Ocean is definitely a book that might need to be read more than just once). And while Nellie's family does not approach her as a "special" or "challenged" child (she is simply Gerald and Jamin's little sister, her parents' daughter), both the parents and the older brothers really do endeavour to stimulate Nellie's sense of touch, sound, hearing, even taste. I love how Jamin and Gerald put Nellie in the sand, how she is allowed to lie in the ocean water, to finger the grains of sand, how the boys bring buckets of seaweed, fish and shells for her to touch, how her father carries Nellie into the surf. Nellie's sense of touch, her sense of hearing, of taste are stimulated by both the ocean and her family, who bring the ocean, the seaside to her to explore, but who also allow Nellie to explore the beach on her own; she is not constantly being controlled and coddled by her family. And although I do find that the two brothers are likely a bit harsh to their sister when they state in one scene of See the Ocean that Nellie is cheating when she claims to be the first to "see" the ocean (on their car voyage towards the ocean), insinuating that she cannot "see" the ocean because she is blind, I do think they are basically just being typical older brothers who cannot handle being outdone by their little sister. And indeed, the parents do immediately intervene, explaining to Gerald and Jamin that although their sister's eyes are blind, she can see with her mind, she can see with her sense of touch, sound, smell and taste. Sibling rivalry is often a fact of life, and just because Nellie is unable to see, does not mean that there might not be sibling rivalry between her older brothers and herself. Jamin and Gerald should of course not have made hurtful comments about Nellie, but I firmly believe the chafing words are not really so much about her blindness in particular, they mainly represent the older brothers' frustration at being outperformed by their much younger sister.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    Well, I was grateful for the last few pages as they definitely cheered me up, and I suppose the whole book was supposed to be cheery, but I found it to be incredibly poignant. The illustrations were so lovely, and not able to be appreciated by the blind. While my mind went to all my senses that are at work while at the ocean on a beach, including smell and touch and taste too, as well as sight, I was more than a bit sad reading this. And I wasn’t thrilled with the way Nellie’s brothers treated h Well, I was grateful for the last few pages as they definitely cheered me up, and I suppose the whole book was supposed to be cheery, but I found it to be incredibly poignant. The illustrations were so lovely, and not able to be appreciated by the blind. While my mind went to all my senses that are at work while at the ocean on a beach, including smell and touch and taste too, as well as sight, I was more than a bit sad reading this. And I wasn’t thrilled with the way Nellie’s brothers treated her, though I suppose their communications are common enough for siblings. But, even so. I didn’t find this quite as heartwarming as I think it was meant to be, until I got toward the end. The pictures are wonderful. I wish the story had shown a bit more sensitivity and not just awe of differing abilities and strengths. Yet, the overall message was sweet, even as I wish some things had been different. As a reading experience, I found it interesting enough to really like the book. But, I’d be careful to who I recommended it, and if I read it with children, I’d definitely make sure to start some discussion if they did not. 3 ½ stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Effective. I love that Nellie's brothers are just as 'normal' as she is... all the kids love each other, and all the kids bicker and compete,* just like any siblings. *Well, except we do wonder, at first, why Nellie doesn't ever want a window seat in the car, and why she keeps score in her head. If you read this with children, please don't tell them what it's about! Let them decide - it's quite likely they'll say something *other than* 'it's about a little blind girl.' I predict, and hope, they s Effective. I love that Nellie's brothers are just as 'normal' as she is... all the kids love each other, and all the kids bicker and compete,* just like any siblings. *Well, except we do wonder, at first, why Nellie doesn't ever want a window seat in the car, and why she keeps score in her head. If you read this with children, please don't tell them what it's about! Let them decide - it's quite likely they'll say something *other than* 'it's about a little blind girl.' I predict, and hope, they say something like 'it's about imagination' or 'it's about a family' or 'it's about vacations....'

  4. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Marcos

    The story of a little girl who is blind and her appreciation for the ocean. Every year her family takes a trip to the ocean and every year her brothers play a game of who can see the ocean first. One year Nellie plays too. The brother's were a little harsh for me. I would have loved to see a touch of a softer side from them. Maybe not calling Nellie a cheater would have been enough. One part of the story about when Nellie was a baby laying in the sand actually saddened me. I am not really sure i The story of a little girl who is blind and her appreciation for the ocean. Every year her family takes a trip to the ocean and every year her brothers play a game of who can see the ocean first. One year Nellie plays too. The brother's were a little harsh for me. I would have loved to see a touch of a softer side from them. Maybe not calling Nellie a cheater would have been enough. One part of the story about when Nellie was a baby laying in the sand actually saddened me. I am not really sure if that was the author's intention here. I did really like Nellie's description of the ocean and how her family helped stimulate her senses. The illustrations are lovely and my two year old daughter loved every page and listen to the entire story. I didn't care for the fact that every picture with Nellie had her eyes covered by a hat. It is interesting that the author is blind and I enjoyed reading that she believes "Our barriers are only in our minds. Whatever we can conceive we can achieve."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is a wonderful tale about a family that focuses on their vacations to the seashore. The relationships between the siblings is depicted in an all-too-honest manner, and the youngest sister's disability is not revealed until the end. I loved the illustrations - they reminded me of picturesque impressionist paintings. And the narrative is somewhat mundane, but not in a bad way; it simply describes the day-to-day interaction of a family with young children on vacation. We enjoyed reading this b This is a wonderful tale about a family that focuses on their vacations to the seashore. The relationships between the siblings is depicted in an all-too-honest manner, and the youngest sister's disability is not revealed until the end. I loved the illustrations - they reminded me of picturesque impressionist paintings. And the narrative is somewhat mundane, but not in a bad way; it simply describes the day-to-day interaction of a family with young children on vacation. We enjoyed reading this book together. This book was featured as one of the selections for the June 2011: Persons Facing Physical Challenges discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books group here at Goodreads. I'm glad that we had the opportunity to read this book! I asked our girls when they first realized that the little girl was blind and although my youngest said that she knew it right away, our oldest admitted that she didn't "see" it until the end (and I think that was true for both of them.) I knew based on the book club discussion that she was blind, but I wonder if it would have changed my perspective on the book if I hadn't.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have a soft spot for stories about the ocean, and this one does not fail to delight. The gorgeous oil painted illustrations immediately transport me to the ocean alongside Nellie's family as they travel there year after year. We experience Nellie's first dip in the water and her regular trips with her brothers as she builds an unwavering love for the ocean. The visual language and imagery are a fest for the imagination, and just when we start to wonder why Nellie never plays the game with her I have a soft spot for stories about the ocean, and this one does not fail to delight. The gorgeous oil painted illustrations immediately transport me to the ocean alongside Nellie's family as they travel there year after year. We experience Nellie's first dip in the water and her regular trips with her brothers as she builds an unwavering love for the ocean. The visual language and imagery are a fest for the imagination, and just when we start to wonder why Nellie never plays the game with her brothers to see who can first spot the ocean from the car windows, we discover that Nellie is in fact blind. Even without sight, she offers a description of the ocean that will bring tears to your eyes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    LindaSkuce

    This is an excellent book for the 4 to 8 year old readers and for curriculum having to do with the senses or inclusion. It gives food for thought to children about how to zone into the senses beyond sight. This is especially pertinent considering the online experience and the bombardment of visual images versus the input from other senses.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mona Pingree

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This tale of Nelle and her brothers takes readers on a sensory journey, as we learn to experience The Ocean in new ways. I would read this to my 4th and 5th grade writers to explore concepts of figurative language, setting, character, theme. For younger children, this is suitable as an entry into the idea of using all our senses.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Muhuawu wu

    I love inter-action within a family and this is a wonderful way to express the childhood responses of siblings. The brothers think they are the only ones who can see, but the in-depth sight of their little sister warms the heart. Hooray for Estelle Condra for helping us who are physically sighted to see in a deeper way. A very helpful book! You can see Nellie's description as she is telling her family about the ocean. The details are so vivid and real. You actually feel like you're at the ocean I love inter-action within a family and this is a wonderful way to express the childhood responses of siblings. The brothers think they are the only ones who can see, but the in-depth sight of their little sister warms the heart. Hooray for Estelle Condra for helping us who are physically sighted to see in a deeper way. A very helpful book! You can see Nellie's description as she is telling her family about the ocean. The details are so vivid and real. You actually feel like you're at the ocean as well. The illustrations of this book are imperative and reinforcing to text and mood of story; may often add a different detail than text alone. The animal is identifiable and the hero/heroine with admirable character traits that show growth and represent the theme. Language is lively, concise, not overly didactic, and with quality writing and a coherent structure; Screaming to be read aloud.See the Ocean is a beautiful story of a family who vacations at the beach every year. As the characters are introduced, we learn important things about them, especially the little sister.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tess Armel

    This is a beautifully illustrated book sharing the story of a blind girl who sees with her heart. It can be incredibly impactful to use in the classroom to show students the ways in which people who are blind maneuver through life.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever come across. The story brings forth sandy memories of ocean air and squawking seagulls, the soft illustrations are breathtaking, and the surprising ending leaves me speechless. This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever come across. The story brings forth sandy memories of ocean air and squawking seagulls, the soft illustrations are breathtaking, and the surprising ending leaves me speechless.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    See the Ocean Condra, Estelle a good story for sharing with children, preschool and kindergarten reading , great pictures

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Oh my goodness. I didn't see that ending coming. I was wondering where the story was going and then my realization was almost palpable. Oh my goodness. I didn't see that ending coming. I was wondering where the story was going and then my realization was almost palpable.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Fun surprise ending to this picture book. Good mentor text for sensory language that includes all the senses.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This book will surprise you......never let physical limitations hold you back!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donalyn

    Nellie, who is blind, describes the ocean with beautiful imagery.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  18. 4 out of 5

    Allie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Candice

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nate

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aine Quinn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tara

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Monahan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stacia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christine Gold

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cristy Josue

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Sun

  30. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

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