Old Man of the Sea
Stella Elia and Weberson Santiago
Grandpa and the boy narrator of the story share a special relationship: sometimes they just sit in silence and on other days Grandpa wants to talk.
On one such day he starts the conversation thus: “Every line on my skin tells the story of my life.”
He then begins to recount his life story to the lad beginning each tale with “All aboard!”
Driven by Elia’s wondrous telling, Santiago’s impressive illustrations executed in a vibrant palette, show Grandpa’s travels from his days as a young sailor when he visited first Europe where he ‘wandered through fairy tale castles and ate picnics in groves of olives’, and then to Africa where he ‘danced to the rhythm of drums’.
Later his wanderlust took him to Asia where he ate tongue burning spices and visited ancient temples before travelling to Oceana
and finally, after a stormy voyage, to America.
It was there that he fell in love, married, settled and raised a family. No longer was the call of the sea pulling him to the oceans where earlier it was the only place he felt truly happy and at peace, at one with the world, able to watch the stars as he slept under a moonlit sky.
Grandpa’s love for the places he visited is palpable, radiating from the spreads of the continents mentioned in the narrative.
Are all the stories true, wonders his grandson at the end; so too probably, will readers; but no matter what, they’ll be absorbed in the telling and that’s what really counts in this beautiful book.