cover image Giant Squid

Giant Squid

Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann. Roaring Brook/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-599-5

Fleming and Rohmann (Bulldozer’s Big Day) draw readers in to the ocean’s murky depths in search of a seldom-seen creature. Tips of arms and tentacles reach up from the bottom of the first page; more reddish-white appendages appear in subsequent scenes until the cephalopod they belong to is announced on the title page. Much of the giant squid’s existence is a mystery, but Fleming pieces together what is known using vivid free verse and near rhyme: “With writhing arms/ and ghostly, lidless eyes/ they glide.” Focusing on each of the squid’s body parts separately, the lyrical narrative evokes a nature documentary (“Here are its tentacles,/ two,/ curling and twisting and thirty feet long,/ waiting for—/ a passing fish.../ another squid.../ anything swimming by”). Rohmann’s rich images place the squid against a shadowy blue-green backdrop, and the entire animal is only revealed in a penultimate double gatefold, appearing out of an expansive cloud of gray ink. The assembling of this creature from its parts to the whole, through both pictures and poetry, will captivate audiences young and old. Ages 6–10. [em]Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (Sept.) [/em]