________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 37. . . .May 23, 2014


Whoosh! A Watery World of Wonderful Creatures.

Marilyn Baillie. Illustrated by Susan Mitchell.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2014.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-926973-98-2.

Subject Headings:
Aquatic animals -Juvenile literature.
Marine animals-Juvenile literature.
Animal behavior-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

**** /4



I’m a river otter pup. My mom pulls me into the chilly water for my first swimming lesson. Patiently, she teaches me to paddle and dive. Look at me float!

I’m a clownfish, and I stay safe in the sea anemone’s stinging tentacles. I flutter about and look out from my wavy hiding spot. Peek-a-boo!


Just in time for summer fun, here’s an energetic and highly visual book for younger readers to share with an adult. Who can resist the opening invitation to “Turn the page to see which amazing animals love water, just like you.” Each left-hand page presents a water creature doing what comes naturally: dolphins leaping and talking, water strider walking on water, great blue heron fishing, alligator napping, otter swimming, orca blowing, hermit crab house hunting, elephant showering, clownfish hiding, penguin sliding, shark waiting. And each facing right-hand page draws readers in to imagine themselves imitating these actions for a whole range of water play.

internal art     Some of the activities are shown with especially amusing poses, like the child sprawled on an air mattress, arms and legs out in perfect copy of the water strider on top of the water, and the child muffled in a striped bath towel that matches the hermit crab’s colourful shell pattern. One example that will intrigue the reader is the Tasseled Wobbegong shark (sure to be a new word to learn!), a master of camouflage lurking among the seaweed. The illustrator has shown the child peering over a lump of rock, seaweed ‘hat’ and all. There’s plenty of action to delight in these bright and appealing, animated paintings.

     “Water is precious…” is the message near the end, with a series of drawings that show how we use it. The child can think about needs and wants here: for drinking or puddle stomping. Since both are important, there may be a place here to talk about ways to save and not waste precious water. Following this page, there’s “Did You Know?” with some additional facts about the various creatures that appear in the earlier pages, enough to further satisfy curious minds. And the fun extends right to the last page, a rebus story urging participation by imitating some of the animals again. There’s a lot packed into this attractive picture book, lots to learn and to do. Whoosh! A Watery World of Wonderful Creatures is one to read and reread, and to share.

Highly Recommended.

Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.

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

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