Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
on 25 September 2013
I read this book over several bedtimes for my 6-year-old daughter. The book plodded along but had a good finale and the pictures through the book were top-notch.
The story follows 10-year-old Oliver Crisp who is coming home with his parents "to the house which they owned but had hardly ever lived in" because up to now they had spent their lives exploring. Oliver is excited to finally settle down, except his parents go out as soon as they arrive to explore some islands that have appeared nearby. Trouble is they go missing so Oliver has to go looking for them.
On his journeys he meets Mr Culpeper, an albatross, and Iris, a short-sighted mermaid. He also gets to see creatures like the rambling isles, which are like islands but aren't because they move and have bodies and faces beneath the water, sea monkeys, "small and smelly in their coats of green fur" and talking seaweed from the Sarcastic Sea.
Then there is the evil Stacey de Lacey who is a boy, because Stacey can be a boy's name too, and who has kidnapped Oliver's parents on a rambling isle called The Thurlstone, who is "very old and very bad. Bad men did human sacrifices in that temple in its top long ago, and the blood trickled down inside it and turned it wicked."
As for the titular seawigs they are the wigs that the rambling isles wear (as seen on the cover of the book). Every seven years the rambling isles have a contest at the Hallowed Shallows to see who has the best wig, which are decorated with things they find on their travels such as shipwrecks and narwhales. "The winner of Seawigs Night is a sort of king", and the Thurlstone is determined to win, even through theft.
The finale sees Oliver trying to rescue his parents as the Night of the Seawigsis taking place, but he gets caught by Stacey de Lacey and his army of sea monkeys, and only Oliver's friends can save him. My daughter's favourite moment came when she realised that the smaller rambling isle that Oliver had been travelling on called Cliff would come and stand up to the vastly bigger and more evil Thurlstone.
But like I said before I felt it plodded along before the finale, and up to then it was difficult to keep my daughter interested.