Following the huge success of the BBC’s breathtaking ‘Blue Planet’ series, taking care of our oceans and the creatures who live in them has never been more topical or more important. I’ve received lots of lovely picture books for readers of all ages which would fit beautifully into an underwater theme – some fiction, some non-fiction. Dive in and take your pick.
Let’s start with the information books first. There has been a real revolution in children’s non-fiction recently and I have four absolute stunners for you.
‘Beneath the Waves,’ by Helen Ahpornsiri, written by Lily Murray. (Big Picture Press)
Helen’s books are true masterpieces. Every single creature is intricately crafted from a colourful array of costal plants and seaweeds which are skilfully collaged into their final form.
‘Beneath the Waves’ is an exploration of the hidden aquatic worlds in the depths of the ocean. Each chapter explores a different realm (the coast, the open ocean, the tropics and polar waters) with tantalising glimpses of some of the weird and wonderful species which reside there.
With clearly presented text full of wonderful vocabulary and new facts to marvel at, I would recommend this title for readers aged 8+
‘Ocean – A Visual Miscellany,’ by Ricardo Henriques & André Letria (Chronicle Kids)
Pitched as containing a ‘tsunami of facts,’ I had high expectations for this book and I absolutely was not disappointed! It is truly fascinating. Covering a vast array of topics from a detailed diagram of a ship and its parts, to takes from the deep, there’s something within to entice any landlubber to set sail on the seven seas.
A clever mix of facts, practical activities and probing questions makes for a brilliant read. The stylish illustrations and limited blue colour palette make this a calming read. Perfect for dipping in and out of or gobbling up in one sitting. 8+
‘Ocean,’ text by Emmanuelle Geundmann, illustrations by Hélène Druvert (Thames and Hudson)
This large format book features some of the most intricate, delicate cut-outs I’ve ever seen in a child’s book. They are used to stunning effect with a bold, vibrant colour palette and lots of flaps to lift and explore.
Plunge into its pages to discover how waves are formed, why parrotfish poo sand and how ocean food chains work. Do you know what a ‘black smoker’ is also called? Did you know that a giant squid’s eye is the size of a human head? Find all the answers inside ‘Ocean.’ 9+
Meet The Pirates,’ by James Davies (Big Picture Press)
You can’t talk about oceans without talking about pirates too, which is the perfect excuse for me to show you one of the new titles in the ‘Meet the…’ series. Sticking with his trademark illustration style and limited colour palette, Davies introduces readers aged 6+ to the life of a pirate.
Clearly laid-out and highly engaging, Davies’ humorous approach to historical fact make these an excellent choice for younger readers. Learn about a pirate’s ship of choice, the golden age of pirateering and the one thing all pirates were scared of!
There you go – spoilt for choice! Wait until to see some of the resplendent picture books I’ve got coming in Blue Planet 2!
*Many thanks to Big Picture Press, Thames & Hudson and Chronicle Kids for sending me these titles to review*