Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent
Written and illustrated by Bill Peet
“I wish there was something more exciting to do. I’d like to have some fun for a change.”
Cyrus, an enormous sea serpent, is feeling bored and discontented. Can’t most children relate to this feeling? Then he is taunted by a shark for his mild personality and is challenged to give way to his destructive side. Aren’t we often faced with others who take advantage of our feelings to encourage negative behavior? At first Cyrus succumbs to this shaming; however, once he sees the people who will be impacted by this disastrous choice, he has a change of heart. Cyrus uses his power to help the powerless.
Readers can’t help but sympathize with Cyrus and wonder what choices he will make. In a culture that praises and elevates the powerful, this simple children’s book demonstrates the responsibility of the powerful to protect the weak. Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent is one of many Bill Peet books that have great illustrations with humorous and relatable stories that appeal to virtuous choices.
Bill Peet (1915-2002) is one of my favorite children’s authors. He is the author-illustrator of 34 children’s books all of which are still in print. Additionally, he was also an illustrator for Disney for 27 years, working on several of their classic animated movies. Each book bears his signature-style of colored-pencil illustrations. His books feature animals as main characters who often face overwhelming circumstances in which they have a choice to make. Some of our other favorite Bill Peet books are Kermit the Hermit, The Wump World, The Caboose who Got Loose, and The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock.
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