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Into The A, B, Sea: An Ocean Alphabet Book Hardcover – September 1, 2000
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"Swim the ocean waves with me / and dive into the A, B, Sea / where Anemones sting, and Barnacles cling / where Crabs crawl in / and Dolphins spin." You get the idea. This is a rhyming alphabet book starring sea creatures--and it is truly, truly wonderful. Steve Jenkins (Animal Dads, Elephants Swim) uses paper collage to great effect--capturing textures and colors of marine animals and plants with astonishing skill. Even the rock-clinging barnacles are alive with movement, which is saying a lot. When his humpbacks leap, they really leap, and when his octopuses hide, they duck into torn black rough-edged paper that looks uncannily like octo-ink. Equally refreshing is the accuracy of the illustrations and creature identification--we were happy to see that the now-discouraged, somewhat misleading term starfish was replaced by sea star, and jellyfish by jellies. And thankfully, science writer and sea lover Deborah Lee Rose's rhyming couplets are not overdone or underdone, but just right.
Because this is, after all, an alphabet book, we're offered more than the usual entrées on the underwater menu, such as Umbrellamouths and Viperfish and "zillions of Zooplankton." (The depiction of milling zooplankton, by the way, is pure cut-paper genius.) A friendly, engaging glossary tells young readers a little more about the creatures that swim and splash throughout the pages. This excellent picture book makes us want to linger where manatees lumber and narwhals slumber, and your favorite future marine biologist will, too. (Preschool to age 6) --Karin Snelson
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-An eye-catching look at the diverse, colorful, and unique creatures that inhabit the world's oceans. Brief, rhyming couplets ask readers to dive into the sea, "where Anemones sting/and Barnacles cling/where Crabs crawl in/and Dolphins spin." With so many fascinating aquatic animals to choose from, Rose has no trouble making the A-to-Z motif work. One species is introduced for each letter, with a single exception ("where blue Whales eXhale"). The text reads aloud smoothly, with natural-sounding rhymes and an even pace. The collage artwork is breathtaking. Using a variety of textures and a palette of deep blues and purples, Jenkins captures the grace and vitality of his subjects, as well as the different characteristics of their particular environments. In one dramatic double-page spread, a humpback whale leaps above a green sea with flippers extended to the sky. In another scene, a tenacious starfish clings to a rock while the ocean undulates around it. Each painting is a perfect medley of vibrant color and restless motion, a combination that evokes the mystery and majesty of the sea. Three pages of endnotes provide tidbits about each animal, making it clear, for example, that although manatees and narwhals are shown on the same page, they live in different waters. A tantalizing, visually stunning invitation to explore a new frontier.
Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.