Book Review: Sergio Makes a Splash
Last summer, I learned how to dive underwater without plugging my nose. I’m 26, almost 27 years old. This bit of late bloomer-ism has resulted in me catching my fair share of grief from my more H2O-savvy peers. Living my whole life in towns located next to various Great Lakes, I have to concede that I can see their point. Thinking back, I wish “Sergio Makes a Splash” was around when I was a kid. Not only is it an outstanding book for youngsters who have yet to take to the water, it is undeniably one of the best picture books released this year.
Sergio is an equal opportunity water lover. He drinks it, bathes in it, and ice skates on it. There is only one version of water he is opposed to – the really deep kind. Sergio is a penguin who can’t swim. On a class trip to the ocean, he comes prepared with all the buoyant equipment you could think of (see the cover above). When Sergio’s classmates all start jumping in, he’s not quick to follow. With some convincing and some guts, Sergio takes the plunge and discovers what he’s been missing.
“Sergio Makes a Splash” incorporates a nice mix of storytelling methods. The first page contains a diagram to explain Sergio’s physical characteristics. Symbols are used to represent what our hero dreams about at night (soccer, fish, and water). A traditional narrator explains the action, but characters speak in word bubbles. This variation keeps the interest high.
The illustrations are outstanding. Unique and nice to look at. Let’s hear about them from Edel Rodriguez himself:
The entire book is printed in three color Pantone inks which makes the colors really pop. Iâ€™m very happy with the way the printing turned out.
Same here. The way splashing water is represented when Sergio comes up for air toward the end is notably inventive. White splattered paint explodes on the page (click on the Edel Rodriguez blog link below to see a number of images from the book).
While he has illustrated children’s books before, this is Mr. Rodriguez’s first time wearing the author’s hat as well. Impressive debut. “Sergio Makes a Splash” is a refreshing release.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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