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INTO THE A, B, SEA by Deborah Lee Rose


An Ocean Alphabet

by Deborah Lee Rose & illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-439-09696-0
Publisher: Scholastic

Vivid collages combined with sprightly verse offer readers a glimpse into the fascinating world of the deep. Rose (The People Who Hugged the Trees, 1994) celebrates the bounty of the sea, providing an alphabetic exploration of the ocean’s diverse inhabitants. Brief rhymes highlight each creature’s unique attributes, from shimmering Queen angelfish to the ponderous pace of the Manatees. The succinct verses move at a lulling pace, evocative of the gentle rhythms of the sea. “. . . where Kelp forests sway / and Leopard sharks prey / where Manatees lumber / and Narwhals slumber . . .” From Anemones to Zooplankton, the verses focus on animals whose names begin each successive letter in the alphabet. For a basic introduction to the alphabet, the book’s format is a bit weak, as the featured letters are highlighted solely within the verse via capitalization and the text lacks any formalized representation of the alphabet in its entirety. However, older children already familiar with their ABC’s will enjoy the challenge of identifying the animals alphabetically while the artwork provides a luminous introduction to marine life. Jenkins’s full-bleed and full-color illustrations gloriously capture the grace and beauty of the ocean’s populace. Detailed, textured collages, made with layers of cut-paper, lend a nearly three-dimensional feel to the illustrations while Jenkins’s use of colors, from bright indigos to soft teals, artfully reflect the ever-changing hues of the sea. A glossary at the back provides further information on the individual animal’s habits and habitats. An informative, picturesque tour of the sea that readers can embark upon without ever getting their toes wet. (Picture book. 3-8)