Review of A Is for Australian Reefs

A Is for Australian ReefsA Is for Australian Reefs
by Frané Lessac; illus. by the author
Primary    Candlewick    48 pp.
6/23    9781536228304    $18.99

The multitude of species found in and around Australian coral reefs are showcased creatively in this vibrant alphabet book. Lessac (illustrator of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, rev. 11/18) uses the A, B, and C pages to introduce big concepts about reef habitats: the types of reefs in the oceans near Australia, the concept of biodiversity, and the biology of corals. The focus then shifts to the animals that live in the reefs, with double-page spreads featuring Lessac’s recognizable brightly colored illustrations of an array of animal groups and species in their shallow-water environments. Basic descriptions of familiar creatures such as fish, octopuses, and turtles as well as less-familiar species such as Queensland groupers, kanga nudibranchs, and violet sea apples are presented in larger text, with additional facts in smaller type incorporated throughout the illustrations. None of the letter matches (­including X for xanthid crabs) are forced—and many more could have been selected—underscoring the diversity of life in the reef habitats. An appended “spot the fish” challenge encourages readers to revisit the pages, this time on the hunt for specific fish species.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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