Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński is their fourth book I have reviewed here and their fourth book with the marvelous Big Picture Press, a publisher of oversized, highly illustrated, gorgeous books who believe that books should be "visually intelligent, surprising, and accessible to readers of all ages, abilities and nationalities." BPP definitely achieves this with every book they publish and, if you are a book lover, you will want to seek out all their titles. Under Earth, Under Water will appeal to anyone who likes to look inside things and understand how things work.
With Under Earth, Under Water, the Mizielińskis, who have an illustration style that is filled with tiny details and a unique palette, take readers on a detailed journey, from the top of the page to the bottom, over and under land and then sea. The endpapers serve as the introduction and table of contents, with images scattered across the spread, page numbers connecting them like a dot-to-dot. The introduction tells readers that "you will meet cavers, spelunkers, miners and passengers on the subway. You will find fossilized dinosaur bones, ancient relics, and gold! Lower yourself deeper and deeper down, from the thinnest layer of soil just beneath your feet all the way to Earth's red-hot core." From bugs and burrowing animals, we head on to edible roots and more. Everything is labeled, and there is a chunky paragraph of information on each page as well as textural details throughout. Leaving the natural world, readers move onto human constructions underground like subways and mines and a very cool spread on mined resources and how we use them. From there, paleontological finds, archaeological finds and caves are explored. This leads perfectly into how volcanoes are made, how geysers are made, the layers of the earth and tectonic plates.
With perfect logic, the center spread of Under Earth, Under Water, is of the Earth's core, with the text orientation flipping to indicate the need to flip the book itself. The endpapers tell readers that they will meet "record-breaking divers, scientists and research vessels" and come across "weird creatures of the deep, vintage submarines, and the wreck of the Titanic" before diving deeper down to explore "coral reefs bathed in sunlight the deepest part of the ocean, plunged in cold and darkness."
From lakes to the ocean and a look at buoyancy, to coral reefs, sinkholes, a look at pressure, diving and record breaking divers, a history of diving suits and submarines, the experience of reading Under Water has a very different feel, despite the continuous illustration style. I felt like I was going deeper and deeper underwater with every page turn and, being a tiny bit claustrophobic, I felt my breath tighten a bit. Giant sea creatures of the deep, underwater chimneys and deep sea dwellers are explored along with oil and gas platforms, the Mariana Trench, scientists underwater and the Deep Sea Challenger. The final pages of Under Water were most fascinating to me, with a look at the Mariana Trench and the Deep Sea Challenger, which is almost 7 miles under water!
Under Earth, Under Water is a magnificent book that any curious reader, young or old, will spend hours poring over. And, it's sure to spark an interest in new and exciting things, below ground and under water!
Source: Review Copy