Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

Mister Seahorse By Eric Carle

The celebrated author-illustrator Carle triumphs again with a gorgeous undersea narrative. After Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs in her husband's pouch for safekeeping, Mr. Seahorse drifts through a series of dazzling scenes. Clear plastic overlays bearing paintings of reeds, a coral reef, seaweed and a rock can be lifted away and — ta-da! — riotously colorful fish emerge. Mr. Seahorse meets other fish tending their eggs — a stickleback, a tilapia, a Kurtus nurseryfish, a pipe and a bullhead catfish. What they all have in common is that they are males, and Mr. Seahorse offers each a comradely word of praise for the job he is doing. By the end, two things have been delivered: Mr. Seahorse's spawn and a gentle salute to the role of at least some fathers in birthing their young.