These illustrations are from a book called Sea Bea which I wrote and illustrated for my oldest daughter about overcoming fear and embracing wonder, 2009-2010.


Written & Illustrated by Emrys Huntington

Title Page

Since you don’t know Bea, we’ll start at the beginning,
Around the time she was taking up swimming.

Bea tells whale tales and sculpts sea beasts out of dough,
But one look at the waves and in, she won’t go.
Bea is brave, but the ocean’s still bigger;
Instead of swimming, she’d become a digger.
Her plans for her sandcastle were a million to one.
Her shovel was trusty, but her bucket was gone.
Mom said, “It can’t have gone far. Your toys
Don’t have legs. Why don’t you ask the boys?”
When Bea was in trouble she knew what to do,
“Uni,” she asked, “have you got a clue?”
With his horn in the air and his hooves in the ocean,
The unicorn said, “This wave took it, that’s my notion.”
Bea said, “I don’t like the water, don’t want to get in;
The beach isn’t better: too much sand on my skin.
There are hermit crabs snapping under the kelp
And sea urchins that make me jump with a yelp.
Even the gulls swoop too low to snatch up the fish.”
So the unicorn said, “I’ll grant you one fishy wish.”
Bea saw the best chance to get back her bucket.
“Turn my beach towel into a magic carpet!

And take me down deep to where the sea lions swim,  
Mom and Dad are napping and won’t miss a thing.”   

Uni warned, “The only way there is to jump off the pier.”
Bea replied, “That’s something I don’t want to hear.” 
The diving board reached out into empty space
And Bea knew she was no high-diving ace.
She had chickened out before and thought she’d fall,
But this time, with her unicorn, Bea made a cannonball.
When Bea was in trouble she knew how to play.                           
“Uni,” she gulped, “there’s no time for delay:
The waves are high and the water’s too deep to tread,”     
So the unicorn said, “Please, ride on me instead,”
“We’ll travel to the sea lion’s court to tell your tale
And ask the king and queen what’s become of your pail.”
“But before we’re off, I have to make one change.
Turning my tail into a fin feels so strange.”

Then, down, down they raced on a road of water
To the grand sea ball to see the ocean’s daughters.
Each fish looked extravagant in her ball gown,
While one princess wore the most peculiar crown.

Here comes the parade to the underwater ball
“All undersea creatures, come one, come all!”         
Called the dolphin trumpeting on the nautilus horn
Who, blowing too hard, accidentally whipped up a storm.
Octopi, squid, seal and eel, all were pulled into the whirl.
It was aquatic disaster: even the clam swallowed his pearl.

When Bea was in trouble it always worked out well.
“Uni,” she asked, “Could you get me a shell?
Then, the orca’s call echoed off the ocean floor      
And Uni yelped, “Fish! Let’s flee for the shore.”
They raced to the surface, the party was done,
Snagged on the unicorn’s horn, the bucket spun.
Bea caught a conch’s seashell and blew                   
The maelstrom into a tidal pool.
With saltwater stinging her eyes and bucket in hand 
Bea marched triumphantly back onto the sand.

Rubbing her eyes, she asked Mom and Dad,    
“Do you know about the adventure we’ve had?”
Mom replied, “We? Little thing, it’s time for a nap,
You’ve had enough water,” and Bea crawled into her lap.
When Bea was dreaming, she knew what to do,
“Uni,” she mumbled, “Tomorrow, something new?”
“Whatever you wish, Bea, but first swim through the night,
Dream of flying fishes. In the morning, we’ll take flight.”

Other Illustrations

Christmas Card