________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 18 . . . . April 27, 2007

cover

Sea Monsters.

Stephen Cumbaa. Illustrated by Margot Thompson.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2007.      
40 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-55337-560-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55337-559-3 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Marine animals-Juvenile literature.
Sea monsters-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Laura Dodwell-Groves.

**½ /4

excerpt:

It was late one night, far out in the middle of the ocean. Suddenly, the dark water began to bubble and foam. Something rose high above the surface. A gigantic tentacle shot out of the darkness and thumped the deck! Then the monstrous arm shot back into the murky depths. Not one of the terrified crew slept that night.

Anyone with a fascination for monsters of the murky depths will have their appetites whetted by this elegant picture book. Dr. Stephen Cumbaa’s clear text is richly detailed by Margot Thompson’s exciting oil rendered illustrations.

     Cumbaa gives the reader a diverse introduction to numerous monsters: fictional and real, living and extinct. The narrative tone mingles an enthusiastic factual voice with that of a mythic storyteller. This enables the reader to garner a sense of majesty as well as digestible facts, e.g. usable measures – canoes and school bus lengths, rather than measures in feet or meters.

internal art

     Thompson’s illustrations are wonderfully textured, giving each monster its own power. Clever body poses and page layout succeed in breaking up the constant blue (sea) backgrounds.

     While well written and well illustrated, there is a frustration. The text really only provides introductory information – brief facts and broad descriptions. Thus, it whets the appetite but doesn’t fully satisfy. While it is good to encourage the eager to unearth further books on the topic, this one could garner a little more substance. Without, this book is in danger of being overlooked by the budding sea monster enthusiasts.

     All told, this book is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the exciting and monstrous deep-sea menagerie.

Recommended.

Laura Dodwell-Groves is a Master of Children’s Literature student at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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