A chrome kitchen table, a buttercream-yellow Studebaker and other campy 1950s accessories distinguish this picture book. At daybreak, Mr. Magee, sporting a spiffy straw boater, and his black-and-white beagle, Dee, pack a picnic basket and drive to the seaside. They hop into their red-and-silver motorboat and putter across a hyper-blue ocean, past rocky islands that suggest the Maine coastline. As they admire a pod of whales in the distance, a stray baby whale grows curious. “From under the sea the little whale spied/ Magee and Dee’s boat–but not them inside./ He longed for adventure. He wanted to play./ So he bumped at the boat in a most friendly way.” Van Dusen (illus. of Silas, the Bookstore Cat) radically shifts perspective from spread to spread. Readers get a bird’s-eye view of the boat with the immense whale below it, a lobster’s-eye view of the whale beneath the tiny boat and a breathtaking close-up of Magee and Dee, who are airborne when the whale spouts a plume of water.
Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, by Chris Van Dusen, Paperback, 36 pages, Ages 4-8. – Book