Four paper dioramas teeming with sea life add a visual boost to this otherwise quick and conventional tour of “the last great wilderness on Earth.”
Aside from a few colorful observations (“One little shrimp throws up glow-in-the-dark vomit in the face of attackers to confuse them!”), Jewitt’s captions and comments about fish and other denizens of the oceans are so general and ordinary that readers will lose little by skipping them completely. Likewise, Connell’s painted specimens are all have a generic look—often garishly colored or lit, but slightly blurred and floating passively in isolation rather than interacting with their watery environments. Four of the 10 spreads feature four-layered underwater scenes (a reef, the open and deep oceans, and Antarctic waters) that are flanked by visual keys to the native denizens on display. Each pop-up is preceded by a flat spread with additional information and a superfluous second key. A companion, 3-D Theater: Rainforest, publishes simultaneously.
Uninspired, overall, though the 3-D scenes may supply young Cousteaus with a few moments of pleasant discovery. (Pop-up nonfiction. 9-10)