A longtime oceanographer invites readers to the excitement of exploring the ocean, “the blue heart of the planet,” and to help in its preservation.
National Geographic Explorer Sylvia Earle first met the ocean as a toddler. She’s been investigating its wonders ever since. Here, she introduces the world she loves through a series of short, extensively illustrated essays. The first three chapters take readers from the ocean’s surface down through the layers that humans have regularly explored to the mostly uncharted depths. Each spread covers a single topic, with relevant, captioned photos and boxed inserts full of further interesting details. Each chapter also includes a “That’s Extreme” example as well as a hands-on activity. Two spreads offer a timeline of modern ocean exploration. Earle’s narrative is full of anecdotes and personal feelings; it feels like her own voice, although co-author Phelan shares title-page credit. After three chapters about ocean wonders, she turns to the causes and effects of ocean degradation (essentially, trash, overfishing, and human-caused climate change) and devotes a final full chapter to what can and is being done, with solid, workable suggestions for readers to take action. This is a model of thoughtful presentation of an uncomfortable subject, designed to attract middle-grade and middle school readers with its extremes in order to keep their attention while simultaneously helping them feel empowered to do something about the issues.
A surprisingly deep and successful dive. (glossary, resources, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 9-14)