Heads and tails underwater by John Canty

cover image

Berbay Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9780648397359.
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Sea, Sea animals, Heads and tails (game), Humour. Every double page shows an illustration of the head and tail of two underwater creatures. Sometimes a description is given, with some clues about what it might be, and readers will have a go at guessing the name of the animal before turning the page to find out what it is. They will be able to derive information from the sparse text while delving into the world of searching for clues for themselves and find there is lots to discover, talk about and take in. This book is a great start for kids setting out on the research journey, learning to look for clues in text and illustration, and learning to discuss things with others to share and disseminate knowledge.
The wonderful illustrations sourced from a nineteenth century text, will amuse and delight as the readers turn the pages. Pen and ink and water colour have been used to great affect. The animals are inventively illustrated; some needing only a swathe of colour to give the image as with the jellyfish, while others needing more detailed pen work as with the crab. All of the animals drawn are lovely to look at, easy to identify and offer traits about the animals which younger readers can observe and absorb. And they like me will enjoy the excitement of seeing what is over the page from the front cove to the back cover. Wonderfully designed with an intriguing font and eye catching use of white space on each page, it is sure to be a hit with younger readers, especially with the appearance of the shark at the end, pointing in quite a different direction.
Fran Knight