Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures

Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures
by Rebecca L. Johnson
Millbrook Press, 2010
ISBN 9780761341482
Review copy was provided by the publisher to the Southern Maine Library District.

This nonfiction book for middle grade and young adult readers highlights ocean life recently discovered by scientists during a ten-year long project called The Census of Marine Life. The book is divided into chapters based on the ocean zones. Some of the chapters include Shallow Edges, Deep Slopes, The Dark Zone, and Abyssal Plains. The photography in this book is truly stunning, and a lengthy caption accompanies each photo. Some of the newly discovered species described in the book include the squat lobster, comb jellies, and a see-through sea cucumber. Johnson describes the amazing marine discoveries by using a 2nd person narrative, which will hook many young readers.

"A ribbon of coral stretches out below you. Schools of brightly colored fish swirl past. As you swim over the reef, you spot sponges, sea cucumbers, anemones, spiny sea urchins, and a blue sea star. The reef is jam-packed with life. Scientists think tropical coral reefs might be home to more than one million different kinds of living things." [p. 11]

After collecting samples of ocean life, the Census scientists sort and identify each creature while taking care to document the GPS location. The marine biologists featured in this book collect marine life from all over the globe. A map and diagram of ocean levels at the beginning of each chapter prove to be useful tools for readers. Johnson ends with an epilogue about threats to the ocean's biodiversity including pollution, over fishing and global warming. A glossary, bibliography, and list of resources are included in the back of the book.

The amazing photographs, detailed information and accessible writing make this book an excellent addition to any school or public library collection.

6 Stars
(Gr. 4-8)