This is a beautiful book. Words and images mingle, creating memorable scenes full of colour and life. Gathered into four sections, there are poems and thoughts about many aspects of the sea- its beauty, the pleasure it offers, the life it holds and the human connection to it. There are poems here which will resonate with everyone.
The first section of poems is entitled 'Down by the Shore'. Here there are poems about the beach, finding pebbles and shells, paddling, making sandcastles... The final poem in this group is 'All Day', a celebration of really looking at and listening to the sea in action as it makes contact with the shore. The picture shows a beach edged with more tropical vegetation than I am used to on my local beaches, but the sights and sounds described are so familiar that any child on any beach anywhere would recognise them. It would be lovely for those of us lucky enough to teach near to the sea to take photos of children like those in the picture and for children to develop their own poems and paintings based on these once back in the classroom.
The next section is called 'Journeys' and looks at the movement of both humans and creatures across the oceans. There is much to enjoy here- and much to learn! Do you know about the Sargasso sea or know what an elver is? You can find out in poems here! 'Lord Beaufort's Scale' effortlessly explains the wind force scale, conveying its importance to those on the seas.
'Under the Sea' contains poems concerning the negative impact man can have on the oceans. Although this has been touched on in previous poems- 'the man whirls his net...to catch just enough fish for dinner.' (Fishing for Dinner), the writing here clearly spells out some of the negatives; 'Bottom Trawling' and 'Deadliest of All' bear witness to the damage humans are wreaking on the watery world. However, there are also poems in this section that revel in the mysteries of the deep, bringing its marvels to life.
The final section explores the wonders of the sea. Here you can learn to sing like a humpback whale, marvel at minute plankton, meet manta rays and flying fish. So much to wonder about and to wonder at in these pages.
There is a richness of vocabulary used in these poems which makes them a pleasure to read. The illustrations are fabulous, each worth lingering over and enjoying again and again. 'A First Book of the Sea' is an essential for classrooms and libraries as well as for enjoying at home! All round winner!
A First Book of the Sea Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton
Walker ISBN: 978-1406368956