Curtis, Jennifer Keats. 2012. Seahorses. New York: Henry Holt. Illustrated by Chad Wallace.
Usually I prefer photography over artwork in nonfiction books for children. Abstract or collage illustrations of fauna and flora can be difficult to equate to their real world counterparts. The artwork in Seahorses, however, is informative and enchanting. The front papers list the artwork as "digital media," the illustrations apparently created using Photoshop. You can see a bit of Chad Wallace's creative process in making Seahorses on his site. The result is a realistic, yet appealing depiction of seahorses in beautifully colored settings. I was drawn to the book by its cover, but was also impressed by the poetic nature of the informational text. Presented in a simple black font, with few sentences per page, the words flow gracefully and follow the life cycle
No bigger than eyelashes, the babies - called small fry - spin and whirl away from one another like deflating balloons in the ocean's gentle current.
Although the female drifts off, she returns early the next day to greet her mate. This time, he floats up to meet her. Dancing, they circle each other, changing colors from brown to green. His fins become very dark brown as he waltzes around her to music only they can hear.
to conception and infancy, a "new life in the ocean has begun."