Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Drawing in the Sea

Drawing in the Sea

Harriet Russell
For ages 6 and up
Princeton Architectural Press, 2015   ISBN: 978-1616894184

There is something about the joy of anticipation that is unlike anything else in the world; a wrapped present, a favorite meal sitting on a plate waiting for the diner to take that first heavenly bite. These are the kinds of things that give us that special ‘before’ joy. For many people, purchasing a new book written by a favorite author also gives them a frisson of ‘before’ joy, and then there are activity and coloring books. There is nothing like opening such a book, a brand new one, to gaze at all those pages full of fabulous things to do. Hours of pleasure await that will be filled with colors, and puzzles to solve.

This book is just such a title, though the creator not only gives her readers pictures to color and complete, and puzzles to do. She also finds creative and often amusing ways to teach them about the sea, sea creatures, sea and ocean geography and so much more.

The author begins by offering us some interesting facts about seas and oceans, just to whet our appetites, but she does not overload us with too much. Instead, at the bottom of the first spread, she says, “OK, that’s enough of that. Let’s draw!” and on we go to a double page spread that shows us the silhouettes of lots of fish. If you think that you have to color in the fish think again. No, the author wants us to draw, in their tummies, what the fish had for dinner.

Two spreads on, we learn a little about the color of the sea. It turns out that the sea can be lots of colors, depending on where it is, what is growing in it, and what time of day it is. After drawing three sea scenes at different times of day, we move on to visit the Red Sea and the Black Sea, and from there we get to put ships in no less than six bottles! By drawing them of course.

In keeping with the nautical theme, we move on to give three sailors some tattoos. We are told that one of them needs to have a parrot on its shoulder too, just for good measure.

Other activities in the book include making an origami boat, learning about sea birds, and finding lost planes and ships in the Bermuda Triangle.

Children are never going to know what is coming next as they explore this book. With clever touches of humor, and packed with interesting pieces of information about the sea, the author gives her readers an activity book experience that is deliciously quirky and unique.