Brooks Olbrys, Author
Kevin Keele, Illustrator
Children’s Success Unlimited LLC, Fiction, Mar. 12, 2013
Suitable for Ages: 6-10, Early Chapter Book
Themes: Ocean Journey, Finding Purpose, Facing Fear and Doubt, Setting Goals, Making Friends, Inspirational
Opening: “There once was a boy who lived close to the sea and daydreamed all day about what he might be. His island was lush and his life wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t content with the things that he had.”
Synopsis: Bob lives on a beautiful island, but something seems to be missing in his life. He sets out on a journey with his chatty hummingbird, Xena, to seek guidance from the friendly creatures of the ocean. He meets Al, a playful dolphin, Doc, a sage turtle, Earl, the clam, and Wallace the walrus. They all offer Bob wise and sound advice. Doc helps Bob realize his passion to protect the blue ocean and sea life. His journey to fulfill his purpose is only beginning as he has to face his doubts and fears. He meets Mary Marine, the Island of Roses’s leading marine biologist, who gives Bob a series of tests. She asks Bob to tag a blue whale and document its progress for 30 days. He encounters his first problem when his boat springs a leak. He feels hopeless. Xena, his guardian, is always nearby to warn Bob of danger. But with the help of his new sea friends, Bob learns to overcome his fears, sets some goals and develop a positive attitude so he can become Mary’s trusted assistant and care for the sea creatures he cherishes.
What I like about this book: Brooks Olbrys has created an entertaining and engaging early chapter book series for children. The book is beautifully illustrated by Kevin Kelle, whose breathtaking artwork of the ocean and sea life fills every page. Blue Ocean Bob encourages children to pursue their dreams. It will spark their imaginations and take them on a journey. The plot is strong and full of adventure. The characters are endearing and believable. Olbrys has written a charming book in lyrical rhyme, which will engage young children who aren’t able to read alone. Older readers will enjoy the important lessons about finding one’s passion and turning it into his/her purpose. This is a unique series because Olbrys has used “timeless principles of achievement,” to encourage children to dream big — Think it. See it. Believe it. Achieve it. Visit Oblrys’s website to learn more about the The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob , preview the first chapter of the book for free, learn about upcoming books in the series and click on the app.
Father-Son Partnership: When Brooks Olbrys began writing Blue Ocean Bob, his son, Nicolas, was four years old. He is now eight. I want to share a brief interview about their inspiring relationship.
Nicolas has been a great partner on my project. When I wrote the first five or six stories and was unsure about them, Nicolas was the first one to hear them. He would give me honest and insightful comments about the characters, action or rhyme. And we would brainstorm about new characters or storylines. His most helpful advice was, “Dad, that is pretty good, but it needs to be funnier.” The messages are important, but won’t get through if they aren’t fun and engaging for kids. We try to incorporate that humor into the illustrations too. Nicolas reviews every illustration and I always get his approval before giving the final sign off. Another comment I love is when he told me “Dad, you are like a really, really good amateur writer.”
Nicolas also helped with the music that we needed for the trailer and app. We listened to dozens of samples from the internet and our app developer. I couldn’t decide. I told Nicolas if he would help me, I would make him an equity partner in the app project. That got his attention. He listened to the four “finalists” and chose one from an internet site. He said that it was “just too much better” and we went with it. Later, he asked me “Dad, if I had chosen the other ones, would you have gone with those? I told him yes, it was his decision. The music is perfect for the trailer, app and series. And it is great to have an in-house junior creative director.