Thursday, April 22, 2021

Beneath the Waves - a review

As we read disturbing news accounts of dying manatees, environmental disasters caused by toxic waste, and ocean pollution on the scale of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it is more imperative than ever that we learn how to protect our miraculous blue planet. In honor of Earth Day, I highlight a beautiful book that's sure to engender respect and admiration for our ocean habitats, the creatures and plants who live in them, and the people who care for them.


Beneath the Waves: Celebrating the Ocean through Pictures, Poems, and Stories

By Stephanie Warren Drimmer

National Geographic, 20201

From bright sandy beaches to inky dark depths ... from sea stars to sea snakes to sea lions ... a wondrous world awaits Beneath the Waves


  Beneath the Waves is a browser's dream. Its generous size and 192 pages are awash in enticing facts about all facets of life and our interaction with oceans.  There are eleven chapters ranging from "On the Beach" to "People and Oceans," and including everything in-between—sea creatures, seashore creatures, habitats, geology, legends, scientific discoveries and more.  As with all National Geographic Kids publications, the illustrations are beautiful and offer a real insider's view of habitats and creatures from penguins to tropical fish. And of course, there are the extreme facts that fascinate kids and adults alike,

"Polar bears have been known to swim more than 60 miles (100 km) without rest in search of food."

"One of the world's oldest shell collections was unearthed from the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii."

"Jellyfish have lived in Earth's ocean for more than 500 million years."

 Included are Contents, Index, Photo Credits, Scientific Names of Ocean Life, and an Afterword by renowned oceanographer, Sylvia Earle.

This will be a great addition for libraries, or, as mine will be, a gift for a budding young environmentalist.

My copy of Beneath the Waves was provided by Media Masters Publicity.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Mars Is - a review

Mars Is: Stark Slopes, Silvery Snow, and Startling Surprises
By Suzanne Slade 

Peachtree Publishing, 2021

With stunning NASA images, Mars Is beautiful enough to be a coffee table book! 

It's much more than that, however. Each image is accompanied by a simple explanation in huge font (no more than a few words per page), as well as a detailed description, making it perfect for sharing with the suggested age range of 6-10, as well as with a younger audience. Many times we are awed by the beauty of photos from space, but have no frame of reference for what we see. Slade's text helps the reader put the photos into context through explanation and comparison.

One double-spread photo might otherwise be mistaken for an Earthly shoreline or volcanic ridge.  Large font text announces, "Mars is steep cliffs," while the smaller text explains that this is an image of the Krupac Crater—highlighting the huge gullies running down its inner slope, and noting that it is a young crater, as evidenced by the exposed Martian bedrock. 

The final pages include information (and photos) about Mars missions, the HiRISE camera used to photograph Mars, and a timeline of Mars exploration.

With the recent landing of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars, there is no better time for a book like this. Leave it lying around and it will attract readers of all ages.

 Read an excerpt of Mars Is here.


My copy of Mars Is was provided by the publisher.

Beneath the Waves - a review

As we read disturbing news accounts of dying manatees , environmental disasters caused by toxic waste, and ocean pollution on the scale of ...