Review of How the Sea Came to Be: And All the Creatures in It

And All the Creatures in ItHow the Sea Came to Be: And All the Creatures in It
by Jennifer Berne; illus. by Amanda Hall
Primary    Eerdmans    56 pp.
4/23    9780802854780    $18.99

Berne’s (On the Wings of Words, rev. 5/20) history of Earth’s oceans and the evolution of marine life is presented as a poem in three parts: the formation of the oceans from Earth’s early volcanic and atmospheric activity; the first emergence of life within the oceans; and the diversification of life in the seas to what we see today. The rhyming stanzas are impressive, filled with words and cadences that are entertaining to read aloud, and yet also precise in conveying scientific concepts about geological and biological processes. “So to the ocean came all kinds of life— / fantastic, surprising, and new. / Step by step, bit by bit, they evolved in the sea. / And life grew, and life changed, and life grew.” Hall’s (Out of This World, rev. 3/19) mixed-media illustrations balance creative use of color and scientific accuracy: portraying the fiery black and orange landscapes of the young planet, the steamy grays and whites of the emerging ocean waters, and then the beautiful blues of the ocean across millions of years and down hundreds of meters. Extensive back matter includes notes from the author and illustrator on their research, detailed profiles of some of the species featured in the illustrations, additional resources and terminology, and a creative foldout timeline of Earth’s history that is linked thematically to the concepts and illustrations in the book.

From the March/April 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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