To Know the Sea by Frances Gilbert. Illustrated by Rhett Ransom Pennell. Book Review.


 Click here to buy To Know the Sea

The first thing you will notice about this book is the dramatic and beautiful illustrations. On the cover you see the green eyed, black haired girl hugging a book and dreaming about tropical fish. She has a captivating expression.

The story begins with this little princess having a tantrum. Although the king and queen try their best to make her happy and the people of the court provide much unsolicited advice, no one can calm the little princess. There is no way around it. The princess wants to “know the sea.”

Everyone tries in humorous and disappointing ways to bring the sea to the little princess. Finally, Peter brings her all the books she would ever need to learn all there is about the ocean. The Princess is happy. Then, the day comes when she leaves to become a mariner.

This original story by Gilbert has the authentic ring of a fairy tale. Children will keep reading to find out what crazy scheme will be introduced and if the Princess ever meets the sea. The vocabulary is rich, sometimes lyrical, without slowing the pace.

The pages are filled with intriguing pictures that will slow the reader down to enjoy the gorgeous detail.

I love that the Princess stays true to herself and becomes a sailor. This is definitely a book I would happily give to a child, especially to a girl who might need encouragement to fulfill her own dreams.


The author was interviewed here.

A paper copy of this book was generously donated by the author to my Little Free Library.

Other books your child might enjoy.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


2 thoughts on “To Know the Sea by Frances Gilbert. Illustrated by Rhett Ransom Pennell. Book Review.

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Fifteen Fiction Picture Books I Reviewed in 2017 | Bonnie Ferrante – Books for Children

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