The author/illustrators’ latest raft-sized display of animal portraits focuses on sea life, from oyster and sand hopper to blue whale.
As in companions Out of Sight (2010) and Birds of a Feather (2012), most of the paintings are kitted out with covering flaps and in some cases cut out and glued to them to create rudimentary pop-ups. Bearing black-on-white silhouettes of the color images beneath, two huge single flaps on the first spread—of an octopus and a compass jellyfish—give the gallery a visually dramatic kickoff. Later spreads feature more silhouettes, inside and outside looks at a Venus clam and other shells, and to close, a matching exercise featuring a set of fish heads and tails on cut strips. Though posed and rendered naturally, the subjects are all suspended on blank white stock, which makes the silhouettes pop but gives lines and colors a slightly faded look. Every creature comes with an identifying label that is sometimes expanded, on selected spreads only, with a casual descriptive comment: “Sea horses are monogamous, and unlike any other animal species on earth, the male sea horse bears the unborn young.”
An attention-getter thanks to trim size and eye-filling art—but not an attention-keeper. (Novelty nonfiction. 4-8)