A beautiful wordless picture book that captures the underwater adventures of a boy and girl.
Just as a boy is about to dive into an empty pool – it’s surface wonderfully still – a whole load of adults appear and crash his party. The pool is heaving, all elbows and floats (how I imagine a holiday resort in a hot European country to be). He dangles is feet at the edge for a bit but then decides to dive down. He meets a little girl – just as shy as him. They continue to dive and so their journey begins.
They spy a coral reef, little fish, giant fish, monstrous looking sea creatures (though not threatening) and eventually a white whale. They swim and swim and swim until they reach the surface of the pool again. The bustling, chattering crowd are getting out on one side and the boy helps the girl out on the other. They look at each other as they remove their swim hats and goggles.
The final scene has one confused grown up, with rubber ring, looking at fish bobbing on the top of the surface.
The boy and girl and their underwater creatures are drawn in colour, the crowd in black and white. It reminded me of The Snowman in a way – subtle colours and that wonderful space a textless book allows for the child reader to decide how long to pause for at each spread.
The children and I love swimming – we are waterbabies, all three of us, and Jess in particular likes to imagine mermaid adventures when we go swimming. But you don’t have to like swimming to appreciate this book – you just have to appreciate adventures.
The note on the back says ‘For Those Who Want To Swim Freely in the World’.
A rather fabulous sentiment.