Tongue-twisting, ocean-themed riddles help children guess what marine creature is hiding under a flap.
In this busy board book, a lengthy, rhyming list of clues identifies a different sea animal on the verso, with the answer hiding under a flap on the recto. While the verses mostly scan, some vocabulary and syntax are fiddly, using unusual words like “landlubbers” or “spoutin’,” meaning that little ones parsing the complex rhyme may lose the thread of “tail” hinting at an answer of “whale.” Helpfully, readers get a glimpse of a part of the hiding animal on top of the flap to assist in solving the puzzle. Reading the riddles aloud is complicated by tall, thin, serif typeset. Placed upon a busy decorative border, it makes for a chaotic-looking page, and the chunky animal name hiding under the flap is similarly visually overwhelming. The colorful art, done in a collage style, is jaunty enough, with patterns and layering aplenty. It places squiggly magenta lines atop a vibrant watermelon-pink octopus and renders tentacles in plaid and stripes drifting off the jellyfish. Some may find the rough-cut smiles on the sea creatures creepy, not cute. The flaps are fairly strong, though the blunt square edges can make it hard to grip and flip. A companion title, Riddle Diddle Rainforest, shares the same style.
Flawed but playful enough to please riddle-loving youngsters. (Board book. 2-5)