Two children with phenomenal lung capacity have an astonishing adventure in the neighborhood pool.
A slim child clad in bathing cap, goggles, and trunks stands poolside; the water is smooth, blue, and empty. Then a throng of grotesque, mostly obese adults with inner tubes and rubber rafts descends, choking the pool's surface. The child enters the water anyway, diving below the paddling feet of the crowd, and is joined by another slender, capped, goggled child, this one sporting a skirted tank suit. Down the pair swim, past strange, birdlike fish to clusters of brightly colored tube worms. An uncluttered double-page spread suspends the two in an empty blue expanse; a turn of the page finds them eye to eye with a gentle, furred white whale. Readers will notice that Lee's palette takes on increasing vibrancy as the children explore; the first child's trunks, gray at the surface, are now bright blue, and the second child's suit is scarlet. The children retain their brilliant hues upon ascending and exiting, while the splashing crowd is still rendered in shades of gray. The message is wordless but clear: don't stay safely on the surface but dive deep to find friendship and wonder.
While the contrast between the slender explorers and the fat intruders is unfortunate, Lee's control of palette and pacing makes this Korean import otherwise a delight. (Picture book. 4-8)