Field Trip to the Ocean Deep

Holiday House/Margaret Ferguson. Sept. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823446308.
Gr 1-3–In Hare’s follow-up to Field Trip to the Moon, a class visits the depths of the ocean in a yellow submarine. Once they arrive, they suit up in silver diving suits with oxygen tanks, like contraptions from a Jules Verne novel. One student takes pictures of all he sees with a deep-sea camera. Seeing things only through this lens, he becomes separated from the group. Exploring on his own, he is crawled upon by friendly giant isopods, cockroachlike creatures similar to the insect companion in Wall-E. He befriends a giant sea creature. And he accidentally topples some underwater ruins. Don’t worry, he and his Pliosaur friend rebuild them shortly before his teacher returns to claim him. The teacher—depicted on the cover—is Black, and the lost student is as well, although his face isn’t seen until the final page. The whole class is concealed in their opaque dive suits for the entirety of the story. Hare’s artwork is ingeniously composed and brilliantly colored, which is necessary for a wordless tale. The divers have spotlights on their helmets, which beautifully illuminate the dark waters of the ocean floor. The mythical Pliosaur is a rich red and orange color that exquisitely contrasts the deep sea blues. At the end, the student presents his photographs, which show the various creatures from the young photographer’s perspective. Back matter includes an illustrated cross-section of the submarine and the diving suit, sure to set little engineers’ minds ablaze with creativity.
VERDICT This book is a gateway to a sublime submarine journey for all, an imaginative must-have for every collection.

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