Beneath the Waves
Helen Ahpornsiri and Lily Murray
Big Picture Press
Ocean life is a relatively popular STEM topic for authors/illustrators but if you are looking for a book with that extra wow factor then Helen Ahpornsiri’s Beneath the Waves has just that.
In four chapters we visit various watery locations – Coast,
Tropics, Open Ocean and Polar Waters
and for each one Helen has collected the natural materials to press and then create magnificent, intricately designed collage illustrations of the weird and wonderful creatures that live in the four habitats.
Sometimes books that are so beautifully illustrated as Helen’s are let down by a mediocre text, not so this one though. Lily Murray’s text is highly engaging and informative with each topic or marine animal being given two, or sometimes three paragraphs that include facts relating to size, feeding habits, breeding and more.
So for instance we read of sea krait ‘… Large lungs mean it can stay underwater for up to two hours at a time, and its flattened tail works like a paddle, powering the snake through the water. When the sea krait finds its prey, (eels) it strikes with deadly venom, swallowing it whole.’ Fascinating indeed.
With its clever fusion of art and science, this is a superb STEAM book that will delight and inform readers of a wide age range. I can envisage a fair number of them collecting a variety of flora and getting creative themselves.
It’s definitely one to add to your home bookshelves and to school collections, both primary and secondary.