When I was growing up we went camping at the seaside every summer. We pitched tents on the beach and for days I had a wonderful time building things out of rocks, swimming, exploring the beach, and snorkeling. I would snorkel for so long my skin got wrinkly and my face mask left a red line on my forehead. I loved to watch the little fish, eels, and other underwater creatures. I would have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book of poetry, which explores the lives of animals that live in water.
Illustrations by David Clark
Rainbow Morning Music, 2013,
Watching, photographing, and
learning about animals is something many people enjoy doing. Men, women, and
children watch nature shows, visit zoos, go on safaris and find other
opportunities to see animals in their natural environment. There are many
people who are particularly taken with animals who live in oceans, seas, and
lakes, and they put on masks, carry tanks of oxygen on their backs, and put up
with freezing cold water so that they can see fish, whales, and other animals
going about their business.
For those of us who are not really interested in getting
wet to see aquatic animals, there are movies and television shows to watch, and
books to read. Some books have made up stories about underwater explorations,
while others are nonfiction. Then there are authors who choose to describe
animals who live in water using poetry.
In this book Barry Louis Polisar’s clever poems are
paired with often amusing illustrations to give readers a little trip
underwater. We meet the oddly named sweetlips fish, and find out that horseshoe
crabs come on land to mate. Unfortunately, many of them “get stranded” when the
tide goes out because they are “followed nature’s calling.”
Some of the animals we meet on the pages are creatures we
would rather avoid in the real world. These include the jellyfish, “a
nettlesome bunch of bad luck,” and crocodiles and alligators. Others, such as
seahorses and barnacles are harmless, and if we were to encounter then we could
watch them without fear.
The last poem wraps up this collection perfectly. In it
the author celebrates all the creatures that live in water ending with the
words “Praise all that swims and floats.”
Well-crafted poems and wonderful artwork make this book a
must for anyone who likes poetry or who has a fondness for seas, oceans, lakes,