The ocean teems with microscopic organisms that develop and transform through metamorphosis into more-familiar creatures such as crabs, giant clams, slipper lobsters, and jellies.
After introducing her six monsters—trochophores, veligers, planulae, phyllosomae, zoeae, and gnathiid pranizae—science writer Montgomery goes on chapter by chapter to define the general concept of metamorphosis, show how larvae and adults have different foods and lead different lives, explain how and why larvae move around, describe the different kinds of help mothers provide, offer examples of what controls these developmental changes, and share some of the many mysteries that remain about the process. A breezy, chatty text addresses readers directly using informal terms such as “tippy top” and “cowabunga!”—as well as numerous exclamation points. It’s broken up with headings, boxes, and colorful photographs, making this unfamiliar topic more accessible. Since the likely audience is old enough to know how to use an index or a glossary, it is unfortunate that the ones provided are so limited. There is “one sweet little chart” that will help enormously, showing the names of all creatures mentioned as larvae, in additional stages, and as adults. Readers who already know about tadpoles and frogs, caterpillars and butterflies on land will be intrigued to discover a similar process in the ocean.
A lively presentation of an unusual subject, a hidden and little-known part of our natural world. (author’s note, life stages, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-15)