The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
We've all been there--standing at the ocean's edge, imagining the water drifting out to other people on other lands. Or wishing for a message in a bottle to come in with the tide to us. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead is a wonderful what-if story that delves into the solitary life of a man, dubbed "The Uncorker" as he has no name, whose job it is to find and deliver these messages.
But, what happens one day when he finds an invitation inside a bottle without an addressee?
The Uncorker sets out on a journey across the nearby village to ask them if they recognize the note. No one does. He has never been unsuccessful at delivering a message and now he has a decision to make. I won't say any further as I don't want to spoil the ending, but I will say that the ending is what I was hoping for all along.
I love the juxtaposition of different processes of art in the illustration throughout The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. Stead uses woodblock printing, oil pastels and pencil to create a world that is so melancholy and lonely for our main character. Something about the light blue of the ocean and walls of his house oozes a quiet solitude, even as he is tasked with bringing people together by delivering letters sent by bottle to various recipients.
I was blown away by the gorgeous illustrations that depict so much with body language coupled with the words of this story. The end result is a message with so much heart that you can't help but read the story again and again. A great read for the month of love and friendship.
Rating: The lowest bookshelves. This book is a love letter to loneliness, and what someone can do about it. Imagine your littles on the playground getting the courage to make a new friend--this book sends a message that you are not alone. And that it's okay to take a chance.
Plus, I've always wondered what happened to all those messages in a bottle. (And, yes, I think of Sting and The Police whenever I write that phrase.)
Ages: I'd say this one is for older picture book kids--so age 4 on up because I like the message that it contains. But, really I'd say age 6 on up to understand some of its nuances.