The Deep End: Real Facts About the Ocean

HarperCollins. Jul. 2023. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063224551.
Gr 1-4–Ocean enthusiasts will want to dive into this nonfiction picture book that shares fun facts about the “deep end,” as well as a history of ocean exploration. Pirate Brownbeard and his first mate Alan the parrot know very little about the oceans they navigate. Luckily a scientist, who is woman-presenting and brown-skinned, appears on their ship to enlighten them. The tone is light and fun for the most part, other than a warning at the end about the perils of climate change, pollution, and overfishing. The author captivates readers with the fascinating habits of the curious creatures which line the ocean floor and the evolution of odd and fantastic tools and vessels used for deep sea exploration. Brownbeard fills in as the comic relief with oblivious quips and jokes. While some pages contain mostly dialogue, reflecting the author’s medium as an editorial cartoonist, many depictions of the flora and fauna of the depths create a much more vibrant visual palette, including rich colors and full spreads. The book offers no back matter and covers only brief snippets of information, so readers seeking a comprehensive oceanology text must look elsewhere. However, the entertainment factor and high-interest topic make up for a limited scope.
VERDICT While not a deep dive into the topic, readers will find this book to be an amusing and illuminating glimpse into the underwater world.

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