Books by Jeffrey L. Rotman

Released: May 1, 2012

"This attractive new look at underwater life may inspire diving dreams for both city and country readers. (Nonfiction. 9-13)"
The familiar contrast between city and country is used to compare the teeming, colorful and diverse world of tropical fishes with the more uniformly colored, less varied and less crowded cold-water world. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2003

Oceanographer Cerullo provides a potpourri of odd facts about 25 sea creatures, including lionfish, giant octopus, jellies, stingrays, and tiger sharks. While many of the full-color underwater photos are appealing, the busy format detracts. Each double-page spread includes several paragraphs of text against a brightly colored background, photos, and banal cartoon-like line drawings. Photos cropped and dropped into the layout in a variety of boxes and bubbles offer no information on the size of creatures shown, so the reader is not sure whether the sea snake is larger than a moray eel, or whether a grouper is actually four times the size of a human diver. The author concludes with "helpful hints." If you get injured exploring the ocean, for instance, she suggests calling "a doctor or poison control center." Hardly earth-shattering. (glossary, further reading, Web sites, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
SEA TURTLES by Mary M. Cerullo
Released: May 1, 2003

Jam-packed with information and photographs, this ocean adventure falls short of potential due to poor organization and occasional heavy-handedness. Beginning with two divers swimming through underground caves near Borneo that are littered with skeletons from sea turtles that were lost underwater and drowned, it abruptly switches to describe species of sea turtles, their birth on land, the mysteries of their lives at sea, and their alarming potential for extinction. Gorgeous, informative photographs are a highlight—but the layout, with too many sidebars that sometimes take up a full double spread, and are set in hard-to-read white-on-black type, significantly detracts from them. Worse, readers are told that "almost all the perils [a sea turtle faces] can be traced back to humans," just after being told how turtles can drown on their own, and before being told how turtle hatchlings are eaten by natural predators before they reach the ocean. Hyperbole lessens the effectiveness of the message that sea turtles need global protection. For a better turtle conservation story, read Lasky and Knight's Interrupted Journey. For sea turtle facts, this is adequate. (Nonfiction. 7-11)Read full book review >
THE OCTOPUS by Mary M. Cerullo
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

The creators of Coral Reef (1996) use captivating science writing and striking full-color photographs to draw readers into the strange underwater world of the octopus. Cerullo skillfully combines information on the anatomy, habits, and history of the octopus with interviews of contemporary scientists engaged in research on location in Victoria, British Columbia. Her prose is peppered with the odd facts children find so intriguing, e.g., the female octopus lays a string of up to 50,000 eggs and attaches them to a wall of her cave, where she stays to protect them until they hatch and ``eventually starves to death.'' The photos, many taken underwater, extend the text and greatly enhance the book. Those with James Martin's fine Tentacles (1993) on their shelves will still want this one. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
CORAL REEF by Mary E. Cerullo
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

Science writing that is vivid, precise, and rich in detail. Cerullo (Lobsters, 1994, etc.) is a storyteller who weaves facts into a compelling description of life in the coral reef throughout the day and night. She uses the analogy of the city to explain how inhabitants of the coral reef have specialized to share and exploit the resources available and discusses adaptations of color, diet, daily schedule, and behavior. Full-color underwater photographs show the varied inhabitants: daytime swimmers like the vibrantly colored angelfish, twilight predators like lionfish, and nighttime specialists like the brittle stars who ``light up at night.'' Outstanding. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >
LOBSTERS by Mary M. Cerullo
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

All about the crustacean ``called `the gangster of the sea' because it is aggressive and territorial by nature'': its anatomy, life cycle, courtship, and breeding; and about lobstering: its history and lore, trapping, and marketing. Cerullo's unusually detailed text is spiced with plenty of the odd facts that spur further inquiry—e.g., in colonial times, lobsters were `' `poverty food'...served to children, to prisoners, and to indentured servants.'' Now big business, they have been studied extensively; the author interviews scientists who describe their growth, migration, and senses (lobsters have antennules with over 400 chemoreceptors ``sensitive enough to distinguish between a horse mussel and a blue mussel'') and reports on humane cooking methods, concluding, ``according to modern science, a few minutes in the freezer means less agony in the kettle.'' The vivid color photos are often intriguing: month-old lobsters cupped in a human hand with a penny for size perspective; rare blue lobsters; a close-up of feathery sensory hairs. A fine science title, attractive and entertaining. Bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 10-14) Read full book review >