Readers explore a tropical beach and learn about the inhabitants of coral reefs in Grandma Science’s (Synergized Middle School Chemistry: Matter’s Phases and Properties, 2011) lyrical children’s picture book.
In an adventure on a sandy white beach, young readers find out about myriad sand dwellers in whimsical rhymes accompanied by gorgeous color photographs. This fact-filled romp through the tropical reef, written entirely in verse, begs to be read aloud. The vivid photographs bring the text to life and will likely capture the imaginations of both young and old readers. Grandma Science, a retired teacher, introduces readers to all sorts of creatures, from the familiar crab and starfish to the exotic honeycomb cowfish, all with simple explanations of how each animal lives. Every page offers new opportunities for exploration, and parents will appreciate the ways that children may interact with the text. Highlighted vocabulary words, for example, may serve as jumping-off points for discussion. Readers then dive underwater to explore numerous tropical fish and the world’s great coral reefs. Through clever verse, kids also learn how the reef and its animal residents work together to keep the ocean healthy: “How does the water stay so amazingly clear? / You can see to the bottom, far away, and so near. / Well, the reef has its very own self-cleaning crew / who filter the water–recycle–renew!” After discussing the reef’s delicate balance, Johnson guides young audiences into thinking about conservation and mankind’s collective responsibility to keep the world’s oceans alive for years to come. Pages of additional information provide extra punch, including an extensive vocabulary list, tips on how to protect coral reefs and snorkel safety advice. The book does cite Wikipedia as a primary source, however, which seems slightly clumsy. Overall, however, this book is suitable for both the classroom and the living room, as it’s both educational and entertaining.
A delightful debut that will likely leave kids anxiously awaiting Grandma Science’s next adventure.