Friday, November 7, 2014

Poetry Friday with a review of In the Sea by David Elliott

When I was young I spent hours face down (wearing a mask and snorkel) in the Mediterranean  Sea watching fish and other creatures go about their business. I also snorkeled in the Indian Ocean, and more recently off the shores of Kauai. There is something magical about watching these beautiful and fascinating animals from the surface, a part of their world and yet apart at the same time. Today's poetry picture book will take readers into that world.

In the SeaIn the Sea
David Elliott
Illustrated by Holly Meade
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Candlewick Press, 2012, 978-0-7636-4498-7
The world’s oceans and seas are full of wonderful, beautiful, and sometimes downright bizarre creatures. Some can dive to the deep dark depths, going places that we humans cannot get to unless we are protected by the thick shell of a submarine. Others make their homes in the shallow, warmers waters where the sun dapples the sand and reef.
   In this gorgeous picture book Holly Meade’s visually arresting woodcuts are paired with David Elliot’s poems to give young readers a colorful and every changing picture of some of the creatures that live in marine environments. We begin with a small and delicate seahorse, “dainty as a wish,” that does indeed look a little like a horse and yet it is “a fish.”
   On the next spread we encounter a very different animal. With its strong tail propelling it through the water it seems to swim straight at us, its mouth agape showing off its many sharp teeth. This is the shark, the creature that inhabits some people’s nightmares “The terror… / of the dark within.”
   We then turn the page to encounter the long arms of an octopus. Though it is rather funny looking, this animal should not be underestimated. It may seem like the clown of the sea, the oddity, but in fact it is the magician that can, without any warning, “vanish in a cloud of ink.”
   Our next creature is a gentle, slow-moving beast, a starfish that crawls along making the world it lives in all the more beautiful by its five-fingered presence.
   With beautiful word images and touches of humor, David Elliott shares his obvious love for the natural world with his readers, offering up a celebration of marine animals that is unique and beautiful. 

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