Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs; illustrated by Meilo So

If you’re looking for a way to introduce a child to the beauty of poetry, or an adult to the glory of picturebooks, Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So might just be it.

The poems are simple-seeming: elegant and eloquent, playful and irreverent by turns. The effect is impossible to resist; see, for instance, a poem addressing jellyfish which begins:

You’re not really jelly,

you’re not really fish —

you’re free-floating noodles

escaped from a dish

Another poem on the same page compares a jellyfish to a bell jar used to cover cake; another, in an evocative haiku, to a trailing kimono.

Coombs’ poems cover all ranges of ocean life, from the sand on the beach in what is one of the most quietly arresting poems here, to seagulls (like beagles, with occasional dignity), to large entities such as whales and sharks–

a quick twist of hunger

to sea turtles and octopi, to a saucy little nudibranch, which will surely delight marine biology enthusiasts, to a little fish in a school, to deep-sea denizens.

And the illustrations! Deserving of all superlatives, So’s art (watercolour, I think) is full-page and deeply evocative, pulling the reader right into that extraordinary dream-space of being in the scene and belonging there, completely secure and thoroughly enchanted.

Water Sings Blue is a book to read and reread. Highly recommended.

Pair with The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear and illustrated by Jan Brett, for another take on ocean poetry with superb illustrations, and with Wave by Suzy Lee, for a wordless picturebook in which the illustrations are the poem.

CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK CELEBRATES KIDS COMICS! Featuring Judd Winick

CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK CELEBRATES KIDS COMICS! Featuring Judd Winick

The Interviewee Judd Winick was born on a doomed alien planet, but survived when his parents sent him off in a rocket into the darkness of space. His alien mother was heard saying to her scientist husband, “You seriously couldn’t have made this rocket any bigger so we could fit inside?! We’re sending the baby […]

Review: Once Upon a Time in Japan by Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)

Review: Once Upon a Time in Japan by Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)

Hardcover, 120 pages Published November 3rd 2015 by Tuttle Publishing Source: Publisher Once Upon a Time in Japan is a wonderful collection of Japanese folk and fairy tales translated from Japanese by Roger Pulvers and Juliet Winters Carpenter. The book is wonderfully constructed with good quality paper and beautiful endpages that contain mini-illustrations that are found […]

Blog Tour: Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous by Juan Carlos Alonso and Gregory S. Paul

Blog Tour: Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous by Juan Carlos Alonso and Gregory S. Paul

Juan Carlos Alonso is a Cuban American graphic designer, creative director, and illustrator. He has over 30 years experience in the graphic design/illustration field. In 1992, he founded Alonso & Company, a creative boutique specializing in branding, design, and advertising. He has been working with clients of all sizes from Fortune 500 to local businesses and […]

BabyLit Board Books by Jennifer Adams: A Review

BabyLit Board Books by Jennifer Adams: A Review

Hardcover, pages vary Publisher: Gibbs Smith Reviewed using my own copies It’s time to talk classics. Classics for babies, that is. Jennifer Adams has been doing just that over the last few years, putting out board books that tell classics stories such as Romeo & Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein, Sherlock, Jabberwocky and many others through […]

Rags and Bones: New Twists On Timeless Tales

Rags and Bones: New Twists On Timeless Tales

… and here we are. Tomorrow. That is to say, today. And today, I’m going to talk about this beasty here- Rags & Bones! You guys, I got this *sigh* last November … and I finally got around to reading it. Apparently, it is just the case that with every short story collection I am doomed to […]