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CORAL REEFS by Jason Chin Kirkus Star


by Jason Chin, illustrated by Jason Chin

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59643-563-6
Publisher: Neal Porter/Flash Point/Roaring Brook

A book on coral reefs transforms the New York Public Library into a reef for its reader as she eagerly learns about those who make and dwell in those unique ecosystems, “cities of the sea.”

Chin, who pioneered this hybrid form of straightforward nonfiction text and fanciful pictures with Redwoods (2009), offers another statement about the power of reading for an imaginative child with this appealing introduction to a complex world. He opens and closes his narrative with accurate and clearly labeled pencil sketches of a large variety of reef-dwellers. Inside, realistic watercolor images, some in panels, some in full-bleed pages and even double-page spreads, complement the text. Sharp-eyed readers will see and be able to identify the creatures (not always those in the narrative) and will enjoy the dreamlike elaboration—especially as the coral reef begins to turn back into a city complete with appropriate signage. The species shown are all found in Caribbean reefs; Chin visited one off Belize in the course of his research. The backmatter includes an afterword describing the threat to coral reefs and providing additional facts as well as selected sources.

As in his earlier Redwoods, the child reader shares her reading, passing on the book to others. Real-life readers will be eager to do the same. (Informational picture book. 5-9)