Of all the curious creatures in the sea, what is the strangest of them all?
Poliquin presents profiles of a dozen surprising ocean dwellers that are not quite what they seem. The book is formatted as a guessing game. A spread pictures and describes a fantastic being; foldouts reveal the actual answers along with a paragraph of information and some fast facts. There’s a “tiptoeing rock,” a “land of candy balls,” a floating angel, and a pugnacious rainbow. Often the imagined beings are rather spooky; the writer conjures up witches and goblins, a pile of skulls, and even extraterrestrials. In first-person text, the imagined being introduces itself in four or five lines set in a relatively large font; inside the foldouts the exposition and facts are more complex, for those who want more information. The curious creatures are revealed to be ocean sunfish, goblin shark, hairy frogfish, yeti crabs, feather star, giant siphonophore, vampire squid, pygmy seahorse, largetooth sawfish, giant larvacean, peacock mantis shrimp, and barreleye fish—interesting, unusual choices. And yes, there’s a final creature who needs artificial aids to explore the watery world. A last foldout, turned sideways, reveals which creatures live at which levels of the sea. Eggenschwiler’s ingenious illustrations morph from fanciful to surprisingly realistic, adding exactly the humor needed to carry this off.
This engaging presentation invites readers to dive in.(glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-12)