What Dwells in the Deep

Eye of Newt. Sept. 2022. 24p. Board $10.95. ISBN 9781777081799.
PreS-K–Part of the “Yikes!” board book series, this is an early primer for learning about specific creatures living in different depths of ocean water. Beginning with children in a boat on the water’s surface, the unnamed but hospitable narrator invites readers to head deeper and deeper into the ocean, encountering a new and unusual animal at each level until reaching the snailfish near the ocean floor, and then to start over and do it all again. There is very little plot to navigate; the friendly text reads like a grocery list of simple but fascinating facts. Doing the heavy lifting are James’s impressive illustrations that pop off the page, bringing each ocean creature to life. Artistic choices demonstrate great attention to detail, such as the water getting darker as the depths become greater. End notes briefly recap the nine animals covered, sharing key facts such as size, physical characteristics, and depth of ocean.
VERDICT The conversational tone and brevity of introduction make this suitable for preschoolers listening to a read-aloud or as a gateway book for promoting interest in further reading on ocean animals. Recommended for larger board book collections.

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