With enough lunch for three, Mr. Magee and his dog Dee head out to the sea. But what begins as a fun day in the sun turns a bit bumpy when onel playful whale decides to say hello. Soon the crew that once was floating finds themselves flying How will they get down? Who will come to their rescue? And when will they ever get to eat lunch? "Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee" is a great read-aloud, sure to provide fits of giggles.
A chrome kitchen table, a buttercream-yellow Studebaker and other campy 1950s accessories distinguish this ebullient picture book. At daybreak, Mr. Magee, sporting a spiffy straw boater, and his black-and-white beagle, Dee, pack a picnic basket and drive to the seaside. They hop into their red-and-silver motorboat and putter across a hyper-blue ocean, past rocky islands that suggest the Maine coastline. As they admire a pod of whales in the distance, a stray baby whale grows curious. "From under the sea the little whale spied/Magee and Dee's boat but not them inside./He longed for adventure. He wanted to play./So he bumped at the boat in a most friendly way." Van Dusen (illus. of Silas, the Bookstore Cat) radically shifts perspective from spread to spread. Readers get a bird's-eye view of the boat with the immense whale below it, a lobster's-eye view of the whale beneath the tiny boat and a breathtaking close-up of Magee and Dee, who are airborne when the whale spouts a plume of water. The narrative bounces along on merrily measured meter, which maintains a lighthearted mood as the other whales get Magee and Dee out of trouble. The story ends at nightfall, with the sailors back on dry land. Van Dusen's exacting verse and kitschy, perfectionistic gouaches make this one whale of a tale.