Today I’m participating in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. Be sure to check it out here.
Title: Down Under the Pier
Author: Nell Cross Beckerman
Illustrator: Rachell Sumpter
Publisher: Cameron Kids, 2020
Audience: Ages 4-8
Themes: Marine life, curiosity
Opening lines: Up on the pier, we ride the giant Ferris wheel, we scream on the roller coaster, we gobble clouds of cotton candy. Wood planks creak as we walk in the sun.
Synopsis: (from Nell Cross Beckerman’s website) There’s lots of fun to be had up on the pier—the Ferris wheel, cotton candy, the carousel—but it’s down under the pier, at low tide, where the real magic can be found. Children are invited to experience the fantastical realm of the natural world, from mussels and barnacles to kelp and seashells, all hiding mere steps away from the lights and games of the pier.
Why I Like This Book: The lyrical text of this book is the perfect vehicle for bringing to life the magical world of marine life under the pier. Nell Cross Beckerman captures the natural curiosity of children in words (We look and wonder…Is it alive? Will it bite? Will it pinch?...) while the rich tones of the illustrations make their actions and discoveries irresistible. The back matter offers just the right amount of information to satisfy a curious mind while offering suggestions for engaging with the intertidal community. Children as well as adults will enjoy taking this journey of exploration under the pier many times. The author also offers an important lesson in environmentalism for future generations by generously donating part of the proceeds from the book to Heal the Bay Aquarium in Santa Monica.
For Susanna’s complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.