Thursday, July 01, 2021

Josephine Against the Sea

Bourne, Shakirah. Josephine Against the Sea
July 6th 2021 by Scholastic
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

Josephine's mother has been gone for five years, but she is not happy that her father is now interested in dating. She would prefer that the two of them stay as they are, watching cricket after her father's busy days as a fisherman in Barbados. She even rigs a bucket of fish guts to spill onto the head of a woman that he brings home, with the help of her friend, Ahkai. Miss Alleyne, Josephine's new teacher, wants her to do well on her upcoming Common Entrance 11-Plus Exam, but this preparation leaves her feeling overwhelmed. Instead, she has gathered her savings and is planning on taking her father to a cricket match to take his mind off of women, but has to give the money to her father when one of her attempts to drive off his dates end with a broken window in their rented home. When a woman named Mariss shows up, she proves impossible for Josephine to scare off. Nothing works, and she and Ahkai start to believe that perhaps she is a sea creature called a Sea Mumma who has designs on her father. Will Josephine and Ahkai be able to fend her off?
Strengths: It's very difficult to find middle grade fiction set in the Caribbean; a search of Follett's Titlewave brings up Taylor's 1969 The Cay as one of the very few choices, which is problematic. I loved reading about Josephine's struggles in school, her adventures outside, and her struggles with Mariss. It's an interesting premise to have a parent dating an ACTUAL slightly demonic creature! I'm sure many young readers will appreciate that. Her friendship with Ahkai is good to see, and Miss Alleyne was probably my favorite character. I'm curious to see this author's expected 2022 release, Duppy Island
Weaknesses: Josephine was a challenging character. There was no excuse to drop a bucket of fish guts on the head of her father's date, and the fact that he didn't discipline her more strongly is concerning. 
What I really think: This is a good choice for readers who want tales rich with Caribbean folkore like Baptiste's The Jumbies or enjoyed tales with magical elements like Callender's King and the Dragonflies or Smith's Hoodoo

No comments:

Post a Comment