Coral Reefs

November 9, 2011

Coral Reefs

By Jason Chin

Roaring Brook Press, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59643-563-6

Nonfiction picture book with fantasy element

“For more than 400 million years, corals have been building reefs in the earth’s oceans. Corals may look like plants, but they are actually animals. Some are soft and sway back forth in the water, while others, called hard corals, are rigid. Corals are made up of polyps, and most have hundreds of tiny polyps on their surface.”

A young girl pulls a book off the shelf at the New York Public Library and begins to read. Like the boy carried into the forest in Redwoods, she is swept into the undersea world of corals. Before this happens, however, Chin presents some of the fascinating information about corals and the skeletons of these animals that form coral reefs. As the girl experiences slides into the coral reefs, she meets up with the plants and animals that live there.

Chin brings to life the brilliant colors and variety of animals living in the tropic seas where reefs are formed. Each spread presents information and brings what the child is reading to life. This book provides excellent information and makes the relationships among the life there clear and real.

This book slips into the undersea world more effortlessly than Redwoods. It’s lovely and lush—and guaranteed to be popular, especially among New York librarians!

Activity 1

Create a food chain or web from the organisms in the book.

 This site has a food chain explanation.

Activity 2

Look up the term for the relationship between two animals that is mutually beneficial called mutualism. Find other examples of beneficial relationships.

Here are two examples.

Activity 3

Find ways some of the animals have adapted to escape their predators using the book’s information.

Visit my post on Follow That Food Chain Coral Reefs post to pair the books and find more activities.

National Science Standards: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems, Ecosystems Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

Book provided by Blue Slip Media and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

A Place for Fish

August 3, 2011

A Place for Fish

By Melissa Stewart

Illustrated by Higgins Bond

Peachtree, 2011

ISBN # 978-1-56145-562-1

Nonfiction picture book

Ages 6-10

 A Place for Fish is the fourth book from Peachtree in this series by Melissa Stewart. The book tells of the environmental threats to fish and how the actions of human affect fish, along with ways people can help stop harmful actions that threaten fish and change them to improve the habitats of fish. Sidebars fill in specific fish information such as how fins help them swim, why certain fish are nearly extinct, and interactions of shelter and how their demise affects fish.

Lush, colorful spreads draw in the reader and show the physical features of the fish in their environments. Inset art with the name of the fish adds more information. The acrylic art is done in the lovely style for which Peachtree is known and provides an up close picture of a variety of fish in their habitats.

This book would make a good introduction to a study of environments, Earth Day, habitats, and interactions of animals in their environments. Read it to introduce children to the importance of human actions on environments and the effect people have on them.

Activity 1

Make a list of the actions people take in the book that harms the environment of fish. Add additional ideas to what young people can do to help keep the environment cleaner for fish.

Activity 2

Look up what one of the fish from the book eats and what eats it. Create a simple food chain to show the importance of their relationship.

 Activity 3

Find out what an invasive species is and read to see how it hurts fish and their environments.

Learn more about oceans and pollution here.

Learn about water pollution at this site.

Here’s a fun coloring activity about fish.

This page has  another  interactive activity.

National Science Standard: organisms and their environment

 Book provided by publisher for Librarian’s Choice book review committee.

Life-Size Aquarium

December 8, 2010

Life-Size Aquarium

By Teruyuki Komiya

Seven Footer Press, 2010

ISBN #978-1934734-54-9

Ages 4-8


“Amazing! This looks like a piece of floating seaweed, but it is actually a fish related to the seahorse. How do you think the way she looks helps her to protect herself?”

Maybe the fact that I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium this past September and fell in love with the leafy sea dragons there made me love this book even more, for it begins with the sea weedy fish on the first page. I even bought a leafy sea dragon keychain to add to my Christmas tree decorations.

The first spread is a detailed map of the aquarium along the lines of the first two books in this series, Life-Size Zoo and More Life-Size Zoo. From the leafy sea dragon, adorable penguins, the dugong, and orca, to the sea otter, clownfish, and jellyfish, the book will please its audience and show readers in great detail the actual sized-images of the life found in the Tokyo aquarium.

The photography is exquisite. Look at the glistening drops of water on the otter’s fur. Then read the short text giving informative blurbs about that animal. The familiar strip along the side or bottom of the spread adds general information and details about the animal shown.

Back matter on the end pages had size and location of each of the animals listed. The fun of this book, besides the fold-out pages on the big animals, is comparing our familiar animals to the Japanese representatives in the book. This new book with its familiar style makes a fun read every time.

Activity 1

Choose an animal from the book that isn’t a common one in the U.S. Look up information about that animal to learn more. Then draw your chosen animal and create labels to show its parts.

Monterey Bay aquarium

Aquariums in Japan

Another aquarium in Japan

See fish diagrams here.

Activity 2 (older kids)

Look up information about Glofish. Find out what makes them special.

Take a look at Nonfiction Monday over at Books Together.

National Science Standard: organisms in their environment

Book provided by publisher.


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