Monday, June 11, 2012

Like Gobies and Groupers

Coral Reefs by Jason Chin (577.789 ChC 2011 PIC BK) is a fantastic introduction to the varied and extraordinary creatures that form coral reefs and the animals that depend on them.

The text is all about the facts – how reefs form, what is coral, the importance of coral reef systems, and the relationship between plants and animals that live within this habitat.  Like I said, the facts.

The illustrations, though, take us on an adventure story. A girl pulls this book off a library shelf, delving into the world of reefs. Slowly, as she reads, the ocean and its creatures surround and submerge her into the watery environment (don’t worry about breathing problems).  The colour, shapes and textures of the different corals are very well displayed. We see parrot fish eating coral and then see sharks that eat the parrot fish.  The diversity of fish that live within reef systems is often shown, while the text only picks out a couple of specific species to illustrate the relationship between the fish and the reef.

As the book comes to an end, the above-world slowly begins to rematerialize, until eventually a soggy but contented reader shares her book with her friends.

A concise “afterwards” explains how coral reefs are under threat and how we can help protect them.  The author also provides very brief additional information about the relationship between coral and the algae living inside them, as well as a short bibliography.

Since this book is all about partnerships, relationships and interdependence within an ecosystem, I would extend my recommendation to another book, as well.

Reef by ScubaZoo (577.789 Re 2007) is a beautiful coffee-table book that really draws readers into the world of the coral reef.  Tons of gorgeous close-ups of corals, fish and plants will engage readers of all ages.  This book is not to be missed if you’re doing a unit about reefs, oceans, ecology, habitats, or environmental issues.

So, like the symbiotic relationship of gobies and groupers, these two books will enchant, inform and entertain students.  Chin’s will work best with students in elementary grades and the coffee-table book will work with anyone.

Today is Nonfiction Monday hosted at Shelf-Employed.  Check out this week's round-up of nonfiction children's literature.


shelf-employed said...

Jason Chin's books are beautiful. Thanks for participating in today's Nonfiction Monday roundup.

Template Design | Elque 2007