Cornish mythology and vibrant colours give this story unexpected depth, both literally and visually, and while obviously a story appealing to the younger reader the contemporary language and subtle humour will strike a chord with all ages as brother and sister surfer dudes, Tamsin and Morgan, unwittingly release an underwater demon that takes them back in time.
Tamsin’s apparent drowning off the Newquay coast and her unexplained re-appearance a month later baffles both her mother and the police but she is the one left having to conceal her haunting flashbacks for fear of ridicule from all around her and particularly her brother.
The sea comes to symbolise danger and a sense of loss for their mother but it holds an addictive allure for Morgan and in these conflicting emotions the author captures the love hate relationship the independent minded people of the south-west have with the water that brings not only food but death.
Kate Brown’s illustrations of chameleon like mermaids and monsters lurking beneath the sea are both understated and colourful depending on the context of the story. In many ways it is the images that leave more of a lasting imprint than the dialogue and it is this innate ability of the comic book to paint a picture that personalises the story telling process as we ride on the wave of the author’s imagination.
The talking crow is a humorous and alternative narrative tool and the old couple on the beach, witnessing the gravity defying surfing antics of Tamsin add a lighter touch which lends a gentle balance to the writing.
The story is pacey and immediate as the younger audience, brought up on a PS4 diet of fast cars and guns, would expect, but this old school style of story telling is touchingly reassuring as we are reminded that there is more to be admired in the magic of mythology than there is in the life-like graphics of bullies carrying AK-47s.
Tamsin and the Deep – Neill Cameron and Kate Brown (Published by David Fickling. Price £9.99)
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