by Zoticus de Lesseps and Dugald Steer
Last December, I reviewed several titles from the Ologies series, including Dragonology, Egyptology and Illusionology. Since it's Christmas time, and I have young nephews, I found myself again contemplating these gorgeous picture books. The boys are still too young for Ologies, but since 2013 marks the ten year anniversary of the series, I think I'll spend this week exploring more Ologies volumes.
Previous “Ologies” book reviews can be read here.
A sea-stained notebook belonging to a Zoticus de Lesseps has been discovered and reproduced for the public. The young writer Zoticus chronicles an incredible sea voyage undertaken when he was a young man. Initially boarding a ship with his mentor Professor Arronax, Zoticus believes their journey of discovery will expand mankind's knowledge of the sea. When they join the mysterious Captain Nemo aboard an amazing submarine decades ahead of its time, Zoticus and the professor immerse themselves in research. But all is not well aboard the Nautilus, and Zoticus begins to fear he may be trapped beneath the sea with Nemo for the rest of his life.
From the gorgeous front cover, this book had me hooked. The cover has a lenticular card with an octopus on it, peering through a submarine's porthole. The textured surface is quite effective at reminding the viewer of the glass in a porthole, separating the viewer from the ocean waters.
Each page has a blend of adventure storytelling, as Zoticus describes the crew's journeys through the oceans of the world, and scientific observations and facts. You can't help but learn a lot about the ocean's environments and the creatures that live therein. Each page is laid out like a scrapbook, with notes, sketches, maps, and other bits of ephemera pasted to each page. Fold-out flaps, small mini-pamphlets, and loose pieces contribute to the realism of this device, and the fun of each page.
The sketches and text are believable as the notes taken by a young man of the 19th century. It makes me really enjoy the diary aspect of the story. Although most of the book is fairly scientific, the final pages veer into stories of Greek mythology and the lost city of Atlantis, creating a tantalizing and supernatural ending to Zoticus' incredible journey. It's a beautiful book and a worthy addition to the Ologies collection.
4 out of 5 stars
To read more about Oceanology, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
2011: Fashionista Piranha Book Blog on hold for a few weeks!
2010: Closing down for end of the year Festivus.
2009: Will Storr vs. the Supernatural by Will Storr
2008: A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell