Friday, April 20, 2012
In the Sea by David Elliott, illustrated by Holly Meade
Elliott and Meade have previously collaborated on two picture books of short poems, On the Farm and In the Wild, but I have to say this is my favorite of the three.
Each full-page spread depicts a different ocean creature and is accompanied by a simple poem, perfect for reading aloud. Some of the poems are lighter, like the sea horse sea horse, "See the sea horse in the sea./Where else would a sea horse be?" or the giant squid, "Few have seen him./Few wish to./Hide from this one!/(That's what fish do.)"
Then there are more intense poems with delicious language like the sea turtle, "Swims the seven seas/for thirty years,/then finds the beach where she was born-/by magic it appears./How can she know to come upon/that far and sandy place?/Rare instrument of nature,/fair compass in a carapace."
Meade's stunning woodcuts give the art a larger-than-life feeling with dazzling patterns and colors spinning across the pages. She conveys the light and movement of the water and the creatures within in the watercolors that splash across the artwork and the creatures swimming, diving, spinning and floating in the ocean.
Verdict: This is one of the few poetry books I've found that I predict will be a hit at storytime. My preschool group loves learning new words and this book will hit the spot, salted as it is with fascinating vocabulary. The patterns of the art grabs the attention and will hold the kids enthralled as they listen to the smooth cadence of the verses. Highly recommended.
ISBN: 9780763644987; Published February 2012 by Candlewick; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library