Ocean Meets Sky

by Terry Fan (Author) Eric Fan (Illustrator)

Ocean Meets Sky
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

"Young readers will be captivated." --The Washington Post

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.

It's a good day for sailing. 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.


Starred Review

Preschool-Grade 2. Readers and listeners set sail for a surreal dreamscape in the Fan brothers’ (The Night Gardener, 2016) newest offering, which follows a young boy’s journey to where the ocean and sky meet. Through spare text and exquisite artwork (graphite drawings, digitally colored), the story unfolds as Finn builds a boat from scraps on the beach to find this magical place from his grandfather’s tales. Awakening from a nap belowdecks, the boy discovers he is gently bobbing on the open water beneath white clouds resembling an elephant, a whale, and a pipe puffing smoke. As day turns to night, a giant whiskered catfish approaches Finn’s boat and offers to guide him to where ocean meets sky. They pass incredible islands, until, finally, the air and sea merge. In a series of phantasmagoric spreads, a castle nestles in a cloud, ghostly jellyfish mingle with the stars, and Victorian airships sail alongside clipper ships and a blue whale. Finn sails by these wonders toward the large golden moon, whose smiling face is very much like that of his beloved grandfather’s. 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.

Copyright 2018 Booklist, LLC Used with permission.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

Inspiration from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and David Wiesner’s Flotsam can be seen in both story and art. However, the Fan Brothers’ approach to loss, healing, and intergenerational relationships makes this a unique and refreshing offering. A stunning, dreamlike voyage into the heart of a child. (Picture book. 4-8)

Copyright 2018 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission.

Hornbook Guide to Children

Finn builds a boat for his deceased grandfather's ninetieth birthday, and a golden fish guides him on a dream journey to the magical place "where ocean meets sky." Three stunning wordless spreads then lead to a glowing moon with the features of Finn's Asian grandfather. Precise graphite drawings, digitally colored in deep blues and soft grays, are a lovely, mystical complement to an understated story of loss and comfort.

Copyright 2019 Hornbook, LLC Used with permission.

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

PreS-Gr 3—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.
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 and It Fell from the Sky, and Lizzy and the Cloud. Visit him online TheFanBrothers.com.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2018
Age Range
4 - 8 years
New York Times, 06/24/18
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