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STAR OF THE SEA by Janet Halfmann

STAR OF THE SEA

A Day in the Life of a Starfish

By Janet Halfmann (Author) , Joan Paley (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: May 24th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9073-4
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

An introduction to the ochre sea star, a Pacific coast variety. Halfmann appropriately focuses on sea stars’ more amazing adaptations—sticky tube feet, a stomach that can be extruded from its body and the ability to regenerate its rays. Children follow along as one sea star uses the night’s high tide to reach the shore, where the mussel beds and her next meal lie. Along the way, she uses her tube feet to right herself after a wave flips her, works to pry apart some mussels, eats her fill and narrowly escapes a hungry seagull. Unfortunately, the author misses some great opportunities to introduce vocabulary. Backmatter includes a diagram of a sea star, resources for finding out more, a four-word glossary and two pages of extensive additional information about sea stars. Paley’s beautiful artwork consists of collages of hand-painted papers of watercolor blends and textures. While the colors and textures are truly evocative of the ocean setting, the illustrations fall a bit short in terms of scientific detail. The text mentions (without naming) the madreporite, the opening in the top of the starfish that allows it to take in water and power its tube feet, but the light-colored, off-center circle that marks this spot is missing in the illustration. This combines with the lack of scientific vocabulary to keep this from being a solid resource, but it could serve to spark further interest. (Informational picture book. 5-8)