Hardcover, 56 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books
Pool is a wordless picturebook and marks the debut of JiHyeon Lee, a South Korean illustrator. On the surface of it (pun not intended), the story depicted in the picturebook is fairly simple. A young boy goes to swim in the swimming pool but before he can enter the pool, a horde of swimmers (who bear more than a passing resemblance to what people perceive Americans as) crowd the pool leaving nary a centimeter free for the boy. The boy refuses to let this deter him and instead dips below the surface. There he discovers wondrous sea creatures, a world underneath a world, and a friend who, like him, has dipped below the surface. Observe the art:
The art is wonderful but what really gets me is how subtle the message of the book is. The protagonist literally looks beneath the surface and because he dares to, he finds a world that is wonderful, colourful, and full of possibility. All of this would have been impossible had he not taken the risk.
The book can be used in writing classes or art classes to discussion expression without accompanying words. But I honestly think that the book will offer the most when it is “read” together with breaks to discuss each page and the story. And perhaps reading this book can be followed by activities where children are taught to look beneath the surface. I recommend this!
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