A cabinet of wonders:
Treasure from the sea

This is pretty much everything we've read during the past week in Cornwall.
We fell in love straight away with the blue-green sea and golden beaches, and my daughters didn't really seem to need toys to entertain themselves by the sea. An excitement that I was very happy to encourage. Everything they looked for was playing with the waves, climbing rocks and beach combing.
We had of course packed some books together with the usual bag of beach toys, however, these remained untouched after the first day, when I found these two titles written by the same author in a lovely independent bookstore in St Ives.
One is a picture book for children, which can be used to introduce them to the second, which  is its photography counterpart.
Treasure from the sea was published in April by Mabecron Books, a family-run publishing company with a strong Cornish identity, owning this and three other bookstores in the county.

Although there is a basic story with some fictional characters, Treasure from the sea is basically a non-fiction book exploring the world of the shores, celebrating sealife and that treasure of findings washed up by the sea onto beaches. From common cuttlebones, crab shells and limpet shells to seaweeds and much coveted mermaid's purses and starfish, to Legos and other man-made things, author and photographer Lisa Wollett opens her cabinet of wonders to young children giving us an informative and very much needed first book about marine life.
Beaches are the wildest places that we and our children can easily access, and they deserve our respect, they deserve to be known.

"The more I learn, the more I see how just precious and vital our seas are, and how fragile the balance of life there can be. Today, these ancient oceans and their inhabitants face an unprecedented combination of threats - from pollution, climate change, unsustainable fishing, discarded plastic - and for most of this, we are responsible. The more we know, though, the more likely it is that we'll be inspired to take greater care of these wild, magnificent places."
[Lisa Woollett]

Credits: Lisa Wollett Photography photographsofthesea.com

Lisa Woollett has been wandering the Cornish shores for years, collecting, looking, photographing the waves, the rocks, the creatures and the debris of the waters. Her book Sea and Shore, published in 2013, is the result of that journey.
It's a stunning anthology of the sea, a tribute to the Cornish coastline combining magnificent photographs, facts and beautiful descriptions of the atmosphere permeating each shot, plus a list of the author's finds by the sea.
We explore sandy and rocky shores, learn weather words and the names of the waves, as well as the Beaufort wind scale: this is a non-fiction book which feels magical thanks to Lisa's stunning photographs, an essential reading for all sea lovers. This is a book than will easily inspire children to the beauty of sealife, whether you are planning to travel to Cornwall not, in which case you will probably put this beautiful land in your bucket list of places to visit.
I could stare at Lisa's photographs for hours, and I want to cover the walls of my flat with her prints: she looks at the overlooked in a lyrical way, conveying the magic of the sea, keeping it very real at the same time.

We are all fascinated by the sea. We are all drawn to it, warmed by memories of childhood or the pleasure and excitement of our children.
We are awed by its power to erode and destroy: we are, if we have any sense, properly respectful of its mercurial changes of mood.

Treasure from the sea [2018] available here
words by Lisa Woollett
illustrations by Sarah McCartney
English edition published by Mabecron Books
Reading age: 3+
Themes: Sealife, Beach findings, Travel

Sea and Shore Cornwall - common and curious findings [2013] available here
Words, photographs and design by Lisa Woollett
Illustrations by Tracy Watts
English edition published by Zart Books
Reading age: 9+
Themes: Sealife, Beach findings, Travel

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