Friday, November 30, 2012

Water Sings Blue

Water Single Blue: Ocean Poems
by Kate Coombs
illustrated by Meilo So

A charming collection of poems about the ocean: from the mighty Sand's Story to delightful Octopus Ink, from magnificent Water Artist to the fearsome Shark, Kate Coombs' verses sing the beauty of the ocean in a uniquely creative and often amusing way.

And not just ocean creatures. Eligy-style verse titled Shipwreck remembering a sunken, broken ship and the Song of the Boat  are presented in a fresh perspective and an original voice.

The watercolor illustrations by Meilo So are absolutely gorgeous blending with the poetry, not just complementing or supporting it, but becoming very much a part of it— sometimes a subtle tint, sometimes a burst of color, always perfectly balanced. For example:

Octopus Ink

The famous author hesitates
to pick his pen up.
He is shy. But wait!
He autographs the water
with a single word—

The illustration for this page is a burst of black ink taking up most of the page revealing just a few tentacles at the bottom suggesting the successful escape.

Water Artist shows an elegant watercolor fish swimming by as it shares:

I stroke water over water
with my fantail brush.

I use my fins to stipple.
I'm in no rush.

Small currents ripple
exactly as I planned.

I'm a water artist.
You wouldn't understand.

And the text is arranged in a cascading ripple/step/wave-like  manner to add to the flow.

I must admit, this book appealed to me much more than it seemed to appeal to the seven year old who found Nudibranch, Shark and Not Really Jelly quite catchy and entertaining, and generally appreciated the other longer ones after a few readings. I can see why Not Really Jelly was a favorite:

Not Really Jelly

You are not really jelly,
you are not really fish—
you're free-floating noodles
escaped from a dish,
all slither and jiggle
and tremble and squish.

Every time I've read it so far, the book has managed to leave me with a tranquil and serene feeling, (not to mention awe and admiration for the author and illustrator), filling me with not just the beauty of the words but the perfectness of  the pictures as well.

[image source:]

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