Monday, November 12, 2012

Seahorses - a review

It's time to show Sandy that we can pick ourselves up and keep going.  Like other New Jersey barrier island residents and inhabitants of low-lying areas throughout NJ and NY, my family evacuated with whatever we could pack in a vehicle.  There are plenty of photos and videos out there of devastation throughout the area.  This one's from my neck of the woods: Sandy Devastation. Although my home and hometown are still inaccessible and uninhabitable, it's time to get back to the business of living.  Many schools will re-open today, and I'm back to work, though many others are not so lucky. It will be a long haul, but as my daughter said, we're Jersey Strong.  No more whining, I promise.

On that note, I'll review an aquatic book today - a reminder that the ocean carries beauty as well as danger.

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

from infancy,

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.

to courtship,

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."

DDC 597.6798

Today is Nonfiction Monday. This week's host is The Flatt Perspective.


  1. Oh my! My thoughts and prayers go to you and your family. I'm amazed that schools are even able to open. Take good care.

    And that's so impressive that you're able to post today. Thank you for the great review, and the seahorse video is lovely. I always look for the seahorse exhibit at aquariums -- they are rather fantastical creatures, I think.

  2. cool. I just saw some seahorses at the aquarium in Salt Lake City - some of them are very tiny.

  3. This looks like a beautiful book on a fascinating creature. Thanks for sharing it with the Nonfiction Monday round-up. And here's to your determination in getting back to normal after Sandy. Here's hoping every day gets a little easier.

  4. Sorry to hear you are out of your home. I hope things improve as fast as possible for you. Must be hard on the children, too.

    I have to say I agree with your assessment of collage illustrations in children's books. Glad this one works. I will be looking for it.


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