An awe-inspiring lesson in photosynthesis goes under the sea.
As in this pair’s previous Living Sunlight (2009), the sun addresses readers to explain the role of solar energy in supporting the chain of life—this time in the ocean. A summary of the process of photosynthesis occupies the first few spreads. Warm yellow sunlight suffuses these pages, and small insets accompany the textual explanation of how plants make sugar from water and carbon dioxide. Then the focus moves to the sea, first near the surface, where phytoplankton grow and multiply, and then to the depths, where nutrient-rich marine “snow” sifts down to feed creatures who live away from sunlight. The transformation of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into phytoplankton (“the great invisible pasture of the sea”), on which feed zooplankton and progressively larger animals, is set against background paintings of rich marine blues and greens. The churning and recycling of these nutrients is shown again to be a gift of the sun: “My sunlight powers winds that build great storms and mix the water layers of the seas.” Bang’s art is richly kinetic, with its whorls and stipples indicating plant and animal life in profusion, from the swirling microscopic creatures to graceful large fish and whales.
Readers will want to visit more than once to capture both the science and the abundant sense of celebration here. (Informational picture book. 5-11)