Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Oceanology: The True account of the voyage of the Nautilus

Oceanology: The True account of the voyage of the Nautilus

A.J. Wood, Emily Hawkins
Illustrator:   Wayne Anderson  , Gary Blythe , Ian Andrew , David Wyatt 
Novelty Book  Series
For ages 7 and up
Candlewick Press, 2009   ISBN: 0763642908

It is 1863, and Professor Pierre Arronax is going on a very special expedition of “adventure” traveling on a vessel called the Nautilus. The professor invites his nephew, Zoticus de Lesseps, to join him in what he hopes will be a journey that is “not only beneficial to ourselves,” “but to the scientific community at large.”

The journey begins on April 3rd, 1863, and two days later the professor and Zoticus see the Nautilus for the first time. They discover, to their amazement, that they are going to be travelling under the water instead of on top of it. Never having been in a submarine before, the travelers are slightly nervous, but they soon forget about their concerns when they are given a warm welcome by the captain of the Nautilus, Captain Nemo. The captain is delighted to have “like-minded adventurers” on his ship.

The Nautilus is an extraordinary vessel, and very soon Zoticus and the professor are able to see and hear all kinds of remarkable things. Whales swim around the submarine, and Zoticus gets to go out in a bathysphere. This allows him to see stingrays, seals, penguins, and sharks up close. He is able to get even closer to the undersea world when he and the professor don diving suits to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Captain Nemo explains that “the ocean is like a mirror of the land, with the coral reefs being the rain forests of the seas.”

In this fascinating book, the authors and illustrators combine fact and fiction seamlessly. Readers will not only be entertained by the gripping story, but they will also learn a lot about oceans and the creatures that live in them. With a gripping ending and many novelty features to explore, this book would make a great gift for anyone who likes to read about adventures.