Little Jillian is bored and feeling left out by her big brothers. Sailing should be fun, but not when she can’t help or keep up with her siblings. With the power of imagination, and encouragement by her father, Jillian befriends a seal named Mary, and together they set off on adventures all summer long. But in the fall, when harbor seals migrate south, Mary is suddenly gone, and Jillian is confused and upset at the absence of her friend. Where did Mary go? Has she lost her imagination? At her father’s urging, Jillian hopes for her friend, and soon she is reunited with Mary the seal while on February vacation in the tropics.



Searching the sea and land for “The Seal with a Pink Bow” was a game my husband invented to keep my young daughter entertained on long sailing cruises along the Maine Coast and Cape Ann. Jillian was bored and felt left out by her brothers who were old enough to help as crew members, fish, play cards, read and swim independently.

The “find the seal with a pink bow” game became part of every trip, and soon the seal sightings were so common that she gave the seal a name; Mary. Jillian took the game and made it her own by imagining incredible adventures, silly games and entertaining activities with her seal friend Mary. Whether they were finding buried pirate treasure or hosting a tea on the rocks, every day was filled with new surprises.

Jillian learned that she had the power to create her own fun and to imagine a friend who would always be there for her when she felt lonely, anxious or bored. In today’s world with ready-made entertainment, it’s important that children learn to stretch the boundaries of their imagination.


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