Review of the Week: Pool by JiHyeon Lee

PoolLee, JiHyeon. Pool. Lee JiHyeon, Illus. Picture Book. Chronicle Books,  06/2015. [50]p. PLB $16.99. 978-1-4521-4294-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-5.

In this wordless picture book, JiHyeon Lee’s delicate colored pencil drawings show a boy who is preparing to enter a swimming pool and is overtaken by crowds of manic swimmers with inner tubes. He manages to dive below their noisy, crowded, floating bodies where he meets another solo swimmer, and together they explore a hidden undersea world with fascinating creatures—some with toothy grins, pointy beaks, or gaping eyeballs, some as tiny as their fingers, and some more gigantic than a house. Their colorful world is multidimensional and intriguing, on the edge of being frightening—for example, when the boy is surrounded by hundreds of poking fish and the girl floats nearby but out of his reach, yet the overall feeling is gentle and calm. When they leave, they emerge from the same rectangular swimming pool, where the noisy, manic floaters remain blissfully ignorant of what was below them—or do they? This mysterious adventure has appeal for a wide age range, and the characters are done in simple outline on white paper, leaving their skin pale, but their specific ethnicity somewhat ambiguous. Originally published in South Korea in 2013.

Erica Siskind, Oakland Public Library

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