Monday, August 30, 2010

Deep, dark, mysterious...wonderful. Nonfiction Monday

I've just been perusing The Deep (ok, glommed onto this book is more like it) because it’s so freaking amazing!

Between the sheer wonder of all the critters that live in the deepest depths of the oceans and the artistry of the photographs, this book is very, very, VERY difficult to put down.

Check out the Creatures from the Deep website  to see a sampling of some of the most ethereal creatures (all sorts of octopus, squid, and jellies down there besides some really deadly looking fish with dagger teeth) one could imagine.

Tons of information for each picture plus interesting essays written by leading scientists studying ocean life for those interested in learning more. But, really, it’s the pictures which steal the show and I believe will get and keep the attention of kids, of all ages.

In many of my book talks, I promote a couple of similar books Rainforest (578.734 MARR 2006) and Reef (577.789 RE 2007) recommending them time and again.  Though fairly hefty, coffee table type books, the full page photographs show an amazing array of creatures and habitats, more than making up for their weightiness. Some of the macro images are almost other-worldly.  Besides the obvious science connections to biology and ecology, I also recommend them as ways to draw kids into books (for all those non-readers out there), have them really look, think, read (text and images) and question - skills found in the Alberta science curriculum. 

Perhaps some the odder pictures could be used as story starters.  You can also make language arts connections looking for the stories to be found or just reading some of the small 'narrative' passages that describe the photographer’s adventures taking these photographs.  Some are very adventurous  and entertaining like when he comes across a black baby caiman and did not realize that the small piping sounds it was making were a signal to its mother that it felt threatened.  Momma answered the call, crashing through the bush to protect her baby and our intrepid photographer made a quick getaway with all limbs attached.

All three books can be tied into current affairs one way or another.  There’s great opportunity right now for both The Deep and Reef with so much attention on the Gulf of Mexico.  Rainforest can also be used in a social studies context showing how humans are having an impact on this diminishing resource.

So much potential.  So appealing.

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