Reviews /

Dive, Dive into the Night Sea

Authored by Thea Lu
Illustrated by Thea Lu
Published by Walker Books Ltd

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A highly original nonfiction picturebook, beautifully illustrated in a perfect colour palette, taking us on a mesmerising journey into the night sea.

This book had me interested as soon as found out it opened up from bottom up, rather than what we usually expect, from left to right. That and a haunting front over of inky black silhouettes of creatures in a very dark grey sea with spots of yellow stars above meant I was excited to see what was inside. Yes, it looked ghostly, but it also had a magical feel to it too.  I can imagine many children from 5 years upwards may equally be drawn in. This colour palette continues throughout and apart from the title page where we see a lone boat – that we can presume to be the diver’s boat floating on top of the water – and the long first double spread of the diver jumping into the water, the rest of the book is beneath the sea.

Each page reveals new creatures: some smaller creatures, such batfish and triggerfish and the tiniest organisms in the sea (plankton) hiding behind different shaped flaps. I loved the page with the bioluminescent plankton, described as, ‘a constellation of stars’. The illustration really does look like this! We see parrotfish, manta rays, coral reefs and whales and the size of the diver next to them makes for really outstanding illustrations to reveal their size.

Alongside these captivating images, there are two levels of text. In larger font there is a text – at times rhyming – that will on its own offer a lovely story to share with young children. Then for those wanting to know more, when you open up the flaps there is a smaller font of text, sharing more detailed fascinating information underneath. Lots of facts, in fact! I learnt a new phrase under one: unihemispheric sleep. It’s a word that describes how whales sleep, keeping half their brain awake so they can control their breathing. This lyrical story, told through the diver, is encased between sea blue endpapers, suggesting the sea colour by day, which perfectly frames the night story, reminding us that this book captures a very special time under the sea that ends once daytime arrives.

Dive, Dive into the Night Sea is a really original, atmospheric journey into the inky depths of the sea. Thea Lu has written and illustrated a book to inspire awe and wonder in what lies beneath and I would highly recommend this book for primary school bookshelves, especially in early years and Key Stage 1.