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Oceanography and marine life

Bang Ocean Sunlight 255x300Bang, Molly and Chisholm, Penny  Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas
Gr. K–3  48 pp.  Scholastic/Blue Sky (Scholastic Trade Division)

This fresh perspective on food chains focuses on the critical and voluminous ocean-based plant life—plankton—and the transfer of energy and nutrients from the sun to these microscopic plants to ocean animals and back. Glowing illustrations, age-appropriate explanations, well-chosen text and visual analogies, and a series of rhetorical questions are used to excellent effect. Six pages of notes are appended.
Subjects: Natural history; Biology; Food chains; Oceans; Astronomy—Sun; Photosynthesis; Plants; Animals—Marine animals

The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea by Helaine BeckerBecker, Helaine  The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea
Gr. 4–6  80 pp.  Kids Can

Illustrated by Willow Dawson. Simple activities are used to demonstrate scientific principles related to the ocean and its inhabitants. Some reliably illustrate important concepts (some of the others are less useful). Accompanying the activities is information about threats to marine and global environmental health, as well as steps readers can take to play a role in conservation. Cartoonlike illustrations, diagrams, and photographs aid comprehension of the science. Ind.
Subjects: Natural history; Oceans; Environment—Conservation; Marine ecology; Experiments

Coral Reef Life by Jinny JohnsonJohnson, Jinny  Coral Reef Life
Gr. 4–6  32 pp.  Smart Apple

Johnson, Jinny  Deep Sea Life
Gr. 4–6  32 pp.  Smart Apple

Johnson, Jinny  Ocean Life
Gr. 4–6  32 pp.  Smart Apple

Johnson, Jinny  Polar Sea Life
Gr. 4–6  32 pp.  Smart Apple

Johnson, Jinny  River and Lake Life
Gr. 4–6  32 pp. Smart Apple

Johnson, Jinny  Seashore Life
Gr. 4–6  32 pp. Smart Apple

Watery Worlds series. In brief, accessible texts, Johnson provides a good amount of information about a variety of life forms in and around bodies of water. The books’ highlights are the vivid photographs, well matched to the subject matter. Different sidebars (“Amazing!” “Guess What?” “Watch Out!”) provide details about individual animals or specific issues. Useful for browsing. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Natural history; Oceans; Seashore; Biomes; Coral reefs and islands; Animals—Marine animals; Animals—Polar animals; Polar regions; Lakes; Rivers

World Without Fish by Mark KurlanskyKurlansky, Mark  World Without Fish
High school  184 pp.  Workman

Illustrated by Frank Stockton. The decline of fish populations, due to overfishing, pollution, and global warming, is a major environmental concern. Kurlansky digs deeply and engagingly into the history and science of the issue and provides important recommendations for sustainable fishing (the scientific terminology is very occasionally imprecise). Each chapter ends with a comic that imagines the impact of fish extinctions over a human’s lifetime. Websites. Ind.
Subjects: Fish; Sports—Fishing; Fishers; Oceans; Conservation—Wildlife

Here Come the Humpbacks by April Pulley SayreSayre, April Pulley  Here Come the Humpbacks
Gr. K–3  40 pp.  Charlesbridge

Illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Sayre’s text thoughtfully follows a year in the life of a female humpback whale, from the birth of her calf through her spring northward migration and back to Caribbean waters for winter. In addition to the narration on the right-hand pages, spreads contain paragraphs of further explanation on the left. Hogan’s cool-toned pencil and pastel illustrations represent the underwater light well.
Subjects: Mammals; Animals—Whales; Migration; Oceans; Animal behavior

From the June 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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