Two pairs of 3-D glasses included with the book add plenty of depth to an explorer’s undersea adventures in this wordless import.
Wearing a clunky diving suit, sans air hose, Picard’s figure dives off a dock and leaves the flat 2-D land above to float through a marvelous world of interwoven fronds, darting fish and general human detritus. Later encounters with a huge shark and an undersea city give way to a mysterious tunnel leading to a hatchway that, opened, drains the entire ocean. This sets up a final double gatefold filled with sea life that, marvelously, has taken over the land. Arranged in a mix of full-spread scenes and large sequential panels, the black-and-white cartoon art is done in a relatively realistic style. It displays (with the goggles) multiple levels and convincing depth of field, along with swirling currents and large forms looming out of the darkness. The volume will likely outlast the two cardboard-and-celluloid goggles, but what with the current popularity of 3-D films, finding replacements shouldn’t be difficult. Without the goggles, the illustrations are clear as mud.
Required prop notwithstanding, a thoroughly immersive outing. (Picture book/novelty. 6-9)