A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some of the animals shown are creepy looking, with big teeth, spines, spikes, or odd shapes. Also, animals are not to scale, so some appear huge when, in fact, they may be small. (Or vice versa.) The language is heavy at times, and parents may find themselves explaining words along the way to make it more accessible for younger audiences (for instance, water pressure, bioluminescence, and hydrothermal vents). Many different units of measurement are used, including feet, meters, miles, kilometers, Celsius, Fahrenheit, kilograms, pounds, etc.
What's the story?
This book explores marine life from the surface of the Pacific Ocean to the sea floor. It starts with a view from outer space looking at the earth and describes the watery details of our planet: Oceans cover more than 2/3 of Earth's surface; over half the planet lies in water more than a mile deep; and, more humans have walked on the moon than explored the deepest spot in the sea. With each page, readers descend deeper into the ocean and learn about the marine life that exists in each zone. Detailed paragraphs on each page give information about the animals and zones, while cut-and-torn paper collage illustrations show the creepy, bizarre, and surprising life. There's also a bar on each page showing the relative depth between the surface and each zone, as well as the temperature. At the end, more detailed information is given about all the marine life shown.
Is it any good?
DOWN DOWN DOWN is a good introduction to deep sea life, and is visually satisfying with beautiful cut-and-torn paper collage artwork. Younger children will need help from adults understanding some of the language and concepts introduced, while older kids will appreciate the additional details and facts thrown in. The writing style goes from scientific to conversational, and the scale of the illustrations is sometimes confusing, but overall this book will encourage learning and inspire curiosity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their own experience with water. Have you been to the ocean, swam in it, snorkeled, boated, fished? Have you ever collected shells on the beach and learned about them? What kind of animal were they and where did they come from? Families can also talk about the different ways animals live. What would it be like to live in complete darkness? What would it be like to be tiny or very large? Families might learn more about the marine animals by visiting an aquarium and doing further reading.