Bite-sized pieces of information and hands-on explorations teach readers all about the sea, from its composition and currents to its problems and energy potential.
In simple terms but with scientific vocabulary, Becker introduces such diverse topics as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, density, desalination, sea-floor spreading, global warming, tsunamis, oil spills, osmosis, camouflage and overfishing. Almost every spread provides readers with something to do, whether small lifestyle changes that will help the ocean or a hands-on demonstration. One such invites readers to explore the ways the two different types of whales eat by using a fork and a toothbrush to “feed.” Over half the book is dedicated to the amazing adaptations that help ocean animals survive—swim bladders, echolocation, blubber and body shapes are just a few. Fascinating facts appear throughout and are sure to amaze. How many readers know that seabird sneezes are actually a really concentrated salt spray? But this compendium of facts and fun is not without its flaws. The lack of a bibliography means readers cannot check facts, especially when they doubt their veracity (as they should in a few instances). Also, the demonstrations/experiments do not always accomplish their stated intent. Beautiful photographs are scattered throughout, but the bulk of the visuals falls to Dawson, whose illustrations have a retro look and color to them.
The sheer breadth of information presented here and its appealing format make this an invaluable resource, especially when accompanied by a knowledgeable adult to guide and correct. (table of contents, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)