Sociologist Roberta Raymond Goes Underwater to Create “Three Sea Tales”

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Sociologist/author/illustrator Roberta L. Raymond creates three charming characters in words and watercolor illustrations that will capture the interest of young readers. A keen observer of underwater life, Raymond shows how courage, curiousity, and hard work can transform the lives of unusual creatures.

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A fish with hands and wings? That's Gus the Flying Gurnard, a fish who seeks his identity while engaging in some dangerous maneuvers. His adventures take him far from the reef and back again, earning him knowledge of his true self and his place in the sea.

A cleaning station where fish line up for a small black and yellow angelfish to clean them? That's Frenchy, a hard-working juvenile in her cleaning phase, dedicated to keeping the reef healthy.

A squid who can't figure out how to change colors like all the other squid? That's Sylvie, who through an act of underwater courage, finds her true colors and wins the honor of the squid squadron.

These characters really exist as sea creatures in the warm Caribbean, and author/illustrator Roberta L. Raymond brings them to life in THREE SEA TALES, a 40-page glossy book that delights children and the adults reading to them. The three stories are lavishly illustrated in transparent watercolor. Raymond has been snorkeling and observing these creatures and many others for the last 40 years. Although she has not yet figured out a way to paint while underwater, she takes photos, makes mental notes, and sketches the scenes when she returns to shore.

Raymond and book designer Jim Groll bring years of experience as writer, artist, and advertising art director together to create another one of their successful projects. Their first book, AMY AND THE AMARYLLIS, was released in September 2014 and was chosen by the editors of The National Gardener Magazine for recognition and review in the April 2015 issue. It is the tale of a little girl, Amy, who decides to embark on amaryllis gardening after visiting a garden show with her mother. Raymond and Groll have also cooperated on ventures as varied as designing all of the print material, T shirts and design components for a 10K run to cooperating on a one-act play on the discovery of a 19th-century painting by French artist Elizabeth Vigee le Brun. Raymond's luscious watercolors have been featured on airline and restaurant menus, in many solo and group shows, in collections in the U.S., Canada and abroad. She created the cover and pen/ink illustrations for a Door County, WI cookbook. She has taught watercolor and drawing classes.

Now in THREE SEA TALES Raymond's writing and artistic talents combine with Groll's layout and design abilities to produce a colorful, glossy, hardcover book that will be a favorite for children who love the sea, fish, and all of the environment that today is endangered by climate change and pollution. Thus it is fitting that the last page of the book is a message from the Ocean Conservancy that urges readers to care about the sea, so that Gus, Frenchy, and Sylvie can survive to bring pleasure to all who love to observe them. The book is published by Mira Digital Publishing and sells for $18.99. It is available on-line from The Book Table, an independently owned bookstore in Oak Park, (http://www.booktable.net).

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Roberta Raymond

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