The Strangest Thing in the Sea And Other Curious Creatures of the Deep – written by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler, Kids Can Press, 2021. 9781771389181
What did you like about the book? Rachel Poliquin has chosen twelve very strange creatures that live in all depths of the ocean. Clever illustration technique that only shows half the animal with a fold to flip over revealing the rest of it works so well here creating mystery and suspense. While you only see half the animal (made to look otherwise by the wrong side of the flap) the mystery is presented: I look like a silvery moon, with graceful wings. Some people call me the Swimming Head. Am I the strangest thing in the sea?” Lifting the flap, we view the entire creature and learn about its size, prey and habitat along with a few astounding facts about the Ocean Sunfish. And so we continue in amazement and astonishment while learning of the Goblin Shark (see-through skin), the Hairy Frogfish (who walk on their feet-like fins), the Yeti Crab (who lives in the cold deep-sea near Antarctica), the Feather Star (its mouth is in the center of its body right next to its bum!), the Giant Siphonophore (its tentacles are covered in stingers that shoot hairy barbs filled with venom), the Vampire Squid (although they have eight arms like an octopus, they are neither octopus nor squid), the Pygmy Seahorse (so tiny and well camouflaged they were not discovered until 1969), the Largetooth Sawfish (one of the most threatened fish in the world as their fins are used in shark-fin soup and their snouts are used in medicines or sold as collectibles), the Giant Larvacean (they build a new house for themselves every day), the Peacock Mantis Shrimp (their eyes process images very quickly which is good as they have very small brains), the Barreleye Fish (they look like they have two pairs of eyes, but the lower set is their nose!). Which one of these is the Strangest creature in the sea? None of them, as you may have guessed; it is the human ocean explorer.
I found one of the most interesting parts of the book is the three-page fold-down at the end which shows the depths of the ocean and which creature lives where. There is also a glossary.
The fabulous illustrations, all rendered in blue of black backgrounds depending upon the depth of the creature, were created with scissors, construction paper, paints, colored pencils and a computer.
Anything you did not like about the book? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? Anyone interested in bizarre animals would like this book along with those who are interested specifically in marine animals. I don’t consider myself in either of these categories and I could Not put the book down!
Who should buy this book? Public libraries and elementary school libraries and individuals.
Where would you shelve it? 591.77
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Editor, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: September 20, 2021