The only sentences that exist in this Caldecott Medal winning picture book are those on the inner, front flap which dutifully explains what the word “flotsam” actually means. After that point the “reader” needs no additional written guidance as the illustrations takes over as storyteller in this absolutely marvelous tale of childhood discovery.
Told in both explosive splash pages and paneled storyboarding, Wiesner presents a simple to follow, impossible to forget, tale of a young beachcomber who, while examining the fascinating yet mundane world of sea shore, all too conveniently happens upon a bizarre underwater camera who’s pictures he dutifully has developed. Through the pictures, the boy discovers that an impossible world exists off the shore and beneath the waves, filled with giant star-fish islands, underwater-extraterrestrial encounters, fabulous cities on the backs of sea turtles, and nurturing home lives consisting of undersea denizens, and the secret truth that this story has been shared via picture again and again. Respectfully, the boy adds his picture to the camera and returns it to the deep wherein the magical adventure begins its cycle anew.
Parents, youngsters, and older children will delight at the brightly colored, excellently rendered drawings of sea life both fantastical and real and become enthralled with the story as it unfolds and leaps off the pages. It is highly recommended for anyone who loves either the beach or aquatic life.