One of the most BEAUTIFUL stories that I have ever read!!!I was able to read this in an entire day, since I am a little under the weather. This has to be one of the best stories I have ever read because: 1. The whole myth/reality skewed line was perfectly executed! A little girl in need of reality, and an elderly man in need of magic was nothing less than poetic. So many times, adults and children need a healthy dose of both, and Appelt combined the two stories into one wonderful novel.2. Using the Texas coast as the setting of a folk tale was ideal and welcomed. Avoiding the fact that my step mother came from the coast, I still have fond memories of the Texas coast. While reading the book, I was transported back to the ocean and the sand, to the salt and the wind. The Gulf of Mexico is not the most beautiful coast, but I just love the water, and seeing the ocean when I was young made me feel like there was something special in the world. That I was part of something much bigger and important that the daily mundane routines of the modern lives of humans. The coastline is almost a religion experience to me. 3. The most important aspect of the book was the richness of the characters. Appelt went beyond race sexual preference and social norms to bring together a community of people with various backgrounds, and combined them into a loving family. Even though Texas is not known for racial or homosexual acceptance, Tater, Texas became the home for every broken and forgotten person. And giving each animal their own voice brought in a whole new level of POV for the audience. The only issue I had with the book was the small and numerous chapters. It made the book feel very choppy and broken.I would highly recommend this book for any teacher especially a Texas teacher. The mythology of the Texas coast could tie in well with social studies.