Oceans at night by Vanessa Pirotta. Illus. by Cindy Lane

cover image

Oceans at Night is a gentle story set from dusk to dawn describing the diversity of sea creatures that live and move above and below the ocean depths, to those that live purely in the darkness and safety of deep water.

With dolphins, penguins, sharks, rays, plankton, whales and more, each double page spread shares fragments of information about the marine life, complemented by glorious watercolour illustrations by Cindy Lane. These images were created with seawater, sand and natural pigments from around Australia, as well digital drawing and collage. The striking and varying hues of blues and greens used for the backgrounds allow the marine life to shine on their own watery stage. The stunning endpapers showcase a fluorescent jellyfish floating across the pages.

The poetic words used to describe each of the diverse animals is perfectly pitched at a young audience. The movement of each creature is felt, as is the swell and rise of the ocean.

Rising up out of the deep,
a giant sunfish swishes her fins from side to side.
She is the biggest bony fish in the sea.
Gracefully, she sucks up floating jellyfish, one by one.
The sunfish turns her massive body flat, resting at the surface.
She remains still, welcoming the new day.

This is a beautiful story that will be enjoyed by all readers. The bonus pages at the end sharing further information about the marine life explored in the book will encourage further learning and research. Teacher notes are available.

Themes: Marine Life, Nocturnal Animals, Animal Diversity.

Kathryn Beilby