CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 18 . . . . April 27, 2007
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.
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.
Laura Dodwell-Groves is a Master of Children’s Literature student at the University of British Columbia.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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.