By: Kevin Kurtz
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2013
A massive sperm whale swam deep in the ocean as other stranger than fiction animals swam alongside him. There were somehow lights in the dark waters that made them visible in the depths of the seas. Far above, “As you first dive into the ocean, / the sun is still shining bright. / Brown algae floats near the surface / and makes its own food from the light.” If you look closely, you can see many creatures as they disguise themselves in the Sargassum seaweed. Five hundred feet below, there are “sharks with bellies that glow.” Are there really such critters?
Yes, and it seems the deeper down we go, the stranger they become. “One thousand feet below sea level, / a fish with protruding jaws / waits patiently in the darkness / with teeth like a raptor’s claws.” Watch out! A shrimp will soon be a tasty snack for the viperfish as he flashes a light protruding from a “spine attached to his back.” Down, down, down, you go. Can anything be stranger than that viperfish? Once you read this book you’ll know that there are some really strange creatures beneath the ocean waves!
This is an amazingly well-written and illustrated book that will captivate the young audience. The artwork and the verse seem to contribute equally to the allure of this book. This story in rhyme is written with ballad stanzas (the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme). The full-color, full-page artwork is quite stunning and will mesmerize the reader as they travel further and further down into the ocean. Confident readers should be able to tackle the material readily, but it will also be of high interest to those much younger. In the back of the book are several activities, including some that can be downloaded and printed from the publisher’s website. This would be an excellent book to read and discuss in the homeschool or classroom setting.
Quill says: This is a fun, fascinating journey beneath the ocean waves that will mesmerize young and old alike!