By: Dave Cales
Illustrated by: Fabian Alvarez and Madeline Jhun
Publisher: Parenting by Connection
Publication Date: October 27, 2023
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: January 14, 2024
A deep dive into the realm of emotions that young children can easily understand awaits readers of the new book The Deep Dive by debut author Dave Cales.
Desmond is very, very excited because today is a big day. Today is the day that he gets to take the “Deep Dive” below a nearby iceberg and show everyone just how deep he can dive. His friends are excited for him and ask him how far below the iceberg he thinks he can swim. The young seal isn’t sure because he doesn’t know how far under the water the iceberg goes, but he’s going to give it his best try.
Desmond’s parents take him to the entrance of the iceberg, where there's a sign for the "Deep Dive" and a line of other young seals waiting for their turns to dive. Desmond waits in line until, finally, it’s his turn. The seal jumps into the water, full of anticipation and with a big smile on his face. It doesn’t take him long to spot a bright light, and he swims down toward it. What he sees surprises him – his cousins fighting, trash floating around, and a fisherman trying to catch a baby seal. Desmond is angry, and he doesn’t like it! Upset at the rush of emotion, Desmond hurries on and continues to dive. Next, he pops up into a cave where he discovers his cousin crying and some friends getting bullied. Now Desmond is sad. He doesn’t like feeling sad, so he rushes out of the cave and continues his dive.
Desmond dives deeper and deeper below the iceberg, and each time he pops his head up into a cave, he sees different things that flood him with emotions. Worried, mad, happy, and full of joy are some of the other emotions he experiences. The young seal isn’t quite sure what to make of all those emotions, but maybe his parents could help him. It’s time to return to the surface and ask his mom and dad about those strong emotions.
On the surface, The Deep Dive appears to be a book about a young seal exploring the world below a nearby iceberg. It is, however, a clever way to introduce children to the wide range of emotions that they may feel on a daily basis. Strong emotions can be scary and confusing to a young child, and author Dave Cales, who has extensive experience as a children’s pastor, obviously understands how emotions can mystify youngsters. Through the use of an adorable seal, the author assures readers that the emotions they are feeling are normal and it is possible to learn how to understand them. In addition, at the back of the book is a QR code to scan to get a free download of tools to help parents “better connect” with their children. While the story was very sweet and the artwork adorable, there was a bit of confusion for my child (and myself) when Desmond first followed the bright light to a point where he saw several things that made him angry. My son asked if the seal was really seeing those things or if they were pretend (ex. - Desmond's cousins Jak Jak and Maddie were on the surface cheering him on, but then were in the bright light below the iceberg fighting). A quick mention in the text of what Desmond kept seeing in the caves (memories?), could clear up that confusion. Otherwise, this is an excellent book for youngsters to help deal with a wide range of confusing emotions.
Quill says: The Deep Dive explores the variety of emotions that children feel in a simple and reassuring way and shows them it is okay to have those emotions.
For more information on The Deep Dive: An Adventure About Emotions, please visit the author's website at: https://www.parentingbyconnection.us/