The Definitive Guide to

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

Written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.1 / 5.0
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Target Age
Book Type

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

“At times poetic, at times quirky, heartwarming throughout.”

Though The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles may seem to have a simple job, retrieving and delivering messages from bottles floating in the ocean, his task is actually “of the utmost importance,” for the messages he delivers almost always make the recipients “quite happy.” Yet while the Uncorker faithfully trudges through snow and storm delivering great joy to others, he wonders if he might ever receive his own letter. When an unaddressed note arrives bearing an invitation to a party on the beach, the Uncorker diligently searches for the proper recipient, leading to an unexpected but delightful gathering of friends and neighbors. Caldecott Medalist Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrator) captures the story’s charm with her unique woodblock print style overlaid with pencil sketches and oil pastels. In one spread, she captures the simple joy of the Uncorker’s deliveries with a profound nostalgia as an old woman sits beside her aged phonograph, complete with crank and oversized horn, holding a letter in her hand while she closes her eyes and savors the joyful moment. Her joy is juxtaposed with the Uncorker’s solitude on the opposite page, where he is seen striding away with only his faithful cat to temper his loneliness. Cuevas tastefully interrupts the story’s poetic tenderness on occasion by quirky inclusions like a “mouth full of cake” that bring an anchoring touch to the Uncorker’s celestial seaside world.

What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

A message in a bottle holds the promise of surprise and wonder, as told in this enthralling picture book by Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, who lives alone atop a hill, has a job of the utmost importance. It is his task to open any bottles found at sea and make sure that the messages are delivered. He loves his job, though he has always wished that, someday, one of the letters would be addressed to him. One day he opens a party invitation—but there’s no name attached. As he devotes himself to the mystery of the intended recipient, he ends up finding something even more special: the possibility of new friends.

What Kind of Book is The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

English Degree, Former SAHM, Grammy Extraordinare
B is for Bookworm
Human Development Degree, Book-loving aunt
The Goodfather
Husband. Father. Children's Book Critic Extraordinaire:)
Mom of Boys
Three little boys who love books about dragons, whangdoodles and magic.
Readerly Mom
Bay Area mother of two, world traveler, book lover, picky reader

This book is worth buying for the beautiful illustrations alone, but the story and writing equally beautiful. It’s one of the real treasures of our bookshelf. We’ve been reading it for years, and my now three-year-old has never gotten tired of hearing it, and I’ve never gotten tired of reading it to her. One of my favorite things about it is that without being preachy or even having a single clear moral, it’s the kind of book that makes you feel good and makes you want to be a good person.

The Notorious RAD
Mom of 1. Wife to 1. #1.

This book tells the story of a man who delivers letters found at sea. When he is unable to deliver an invitation to a party, he searches all over town to try to find the attendee.

Book Lists That Include The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

Book Lists › loneliness
Children's Books About Loneliness
Book Lists › community
Children's Books About Community
Book Lists › Kindergarten
Children's Books About Kindergarten
Book Lists › Age 6
Children's Books About Age 6
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Who Wrote The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

Michelle Cuevas

Michelle Cuevas graduated from Williams College and holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Virginia. She is the author of acclaimed picture book and national bestseller The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles (illustrated by Erin E. Stead), Smoot A Rebellious Shadow (illustrated by Sydney Smith), and several children’s novels including The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole (winner of the Massachusetts Book Award), and Confessions of an Imaginary Friend. Both novels are currently in production as feature films. Michelle lives and writes in Western Massachusetts. Read more about her books at

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Who Illustrated The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

What Has Michelle Cuevas Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Michelle Cuevas know that we want more details from them about The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles! Try tweeting at them on twitter (@JacquesPapier) or messaging them on instagram (@pgreenboat).

What Has Erin E. Stead Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Erin E. Stead know that we want more details from them about The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles!

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Book Details

ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Publication Date:
January 1, 2016