Twenty-three poems and evocative watercolor paintings pay tribute to the wonders of the ocean world.
The versatile Coombs shows she’s as adept at poetry as she is at concocting or adapting fairy tales (Hans My Hedgehog, 2012, etc.). She invites young readers into her celebration with an opening “Song of the Boat” and ends with the message of the “Tideline.” “ ‘Don’t forget me— / I was here, / wasss h e r e / wasssss h e r e …’ ” Varied rhyme and rhythmic patterns and surprising connections characterize these relatively short poems, which read aloud well and stick in the memory. There’s humor, interesting language and intriguing imagery, as when the Gulper Eel’s “astronomical maw” is compared to a black hole. Thoughtful organization and placement of text on the page and So’s wavery, watery illustrations extend the poems’ meaning. A series of couplets describing “What the Waves Say” is illustrated with panels of varying water-surface patterns. Three different jellyfish poems share a double-page spread; another spread emphasizes the size of a blue whale with its vertical orientation and a shipwreck lying at the bottom. Sand-colored endpapers show objects washed up on shore: a shell, a feather, a crab’s claw and what might just be the remains of a footprint.
Share this admirable appreciation with a wide audience. (Picture book/poetry. 4-10)