Ocean Meets Sky

by Terry Fan (Author) Eric Fan (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

From the creators of the gorgeous bestseller The Night Gardener comes a stunning new picture book about a young boy who sets sail to find a place his grandfather told him about...the spot where the ocean meets the sky.

Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it's a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn's grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He'll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he'll find something he didn't know he was looking for.

Select format:


Starred Review

This amorphous, imaginative adventure carries threads of grief and closure that will bypass most youngsters, but they will be enthralled by the magical illustrations and accepting of the notion that the fantastic worlds of dreams and stories truly exist.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

A stunning, dreamlike voyage into the heart of a child. 

Hornbook Guide to Children

Precise graphite drawings, digitally colored in deep blues and soft grays, are a lovely, mystical complement to an understated story of loss and comfort.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Young Finn's grandfather, when he was alive, had a white pointed beard that made him look like a sage. He told Finn stories about "a place far away where ocean meets sky." Now, to celebrate the day his grandfather would have been 90, Finn creates a boat out of wood scraps, then drifts off to sleep inside it. In a dream, a great, mustachioed golden carp appears to help Finn find the place his grandfather described: "It's up and down and very far." Finn sails through nautical fancies that attentive readers will recognize as curiosities from his grandfather's study, at last reaching a starry, light-filled paradise where schooners, hot-air balloons, dirigibles, a blue whale, and even the Titanic all sail serenely for eternity--and the full moon contains the smiling face of his grandfather. Meticulous draftsmanship by the Fan brothers (The Night Gardener) gives the spreads genuine majesty; Finn's tiny craft is barely visible among the great vessels. The artists imagine not a general, one-size-fits-all afterlife, but one that Finn and his grandfather share--and one that readers will feel privileged to share with them. Ages 4-8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (May)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

The Fan brothers' elegant illustrations and understated yet emotion-packed storytelling create a picture book that is at once mystical, magical, and magnetic. Finn, a boy of Asian descent who lives by the sea, remembers the stories his grandfather told him about a faraway place "where ocean meets sky." Today would have been Grandpa's 90th birthday, and Finn honors him by building a boat for the journey they had planned together. After cobbling together driftwood, an old tire, window frames, and other discarded materials, he crawls inside the vessel for a short nap. When he awakens, the boat is at sea; but this is no ordinary voyage. A massive golden fish with a mustache and goatee agrees to lead Finn to the destination described in his grandfather's tales. After visiting several amazing locales (including the Library Islands, where "bookish birds" roost and read), the boat lifts skyward ("or had the water fallen away?"). Finn glides through eye-catching spreads filled with wonders from ocean and air (a magnificent mélange of giant whales, submarines, sailing ships, dirigibles, hot air balloons, and more) toward a full moon with a very familiar and much-longed-for face. Summoned home by his mother's call, Finn stands on the seashore, looks to the moon, and acknowledges that "It had been a good day for sailing." Rendered in graphite and colored digitally, the artwork masterfully blends realistic details with soaring flights of fancy. VERDICT This grand adventure stirs imaginations while also celebrating a loving intergenerational relationship and providing comfort and closure after loss. Readers will want to share this affecting title one-on-one, with plenty of time to pore over the gorgeous artwork.—Joy Fleishhacker, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

[A] lovely book about grief and imagination...filled with sumptuous illustrations. - The Wall Street Journal
Terry Fan
Terry Fan received his formal art training at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. His work is a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques, using ink or graphite mixed with digital. He spends his days (and nights) creating magical paintings, portraits, and prints. Terry is the cocreator of The Night Gardener, It Fell from the Sky, and Lizzy and the Cloud. Born in Illinois, he now lives in Toronto. Visit him online TheFanBrothers.com.

Eric Fan is an artist and writer who lives in Toronto, Canada. Born in Hawaii and raised in Toronto, he attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he studied illustration, sculpture, and film. He has a passion for vintage bikes, clockwork contraptions, and impossible dreams. Eric is the cocreator of The Night Gardener, It Fell from the Sky, and Lizzy and the Cloud. Visit him online TheFanBrothers.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date
May 15, 2018
BISAC categories
JUV029000 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | General
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
JUV041020 - Juvenile Fiction | Transportation | Boats, Ships, & Underwater Craft
Library of Congress categories
New York Times, 06/24/18

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!