Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Life in Hot Water


Life in Hot Water: Wildlife at the Bottom of the Ocean
written by Mary Batten
illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Peachtree Publishing
Grades 3-7

This has been the summer for outstanding science books for children, and Life in Hot Water is a prime example. Batten and Gonzalez take readers on a journey to the depths of the ocean as scientists used a deep-diving human occupied vehicle to discover hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. 

This expository picture book is a page turner at times as readers get a close-up look at the murky and mysterious ocean floor in Gonzalez's stunning, realistic illustrations. The book incorporates quotes from scientists, providing readers with a first hand account of the discovery of the vents and impact on the scientific world. With each page turn, a new species is introduced including the scaly foot snail, the Pompei worm, tube worms, blind shrimp, and the vent octopus. Readers will also learn about chemosynthesis: chemicals from the vents serves as energy for microbes at the base of the food chain in the absence of sunlight. 

Batten has a gift for writing scientific information in a clear and interesting style while also defining new terms for young readers. Extensive back matter will satisfy those who want to learn more. Visit the publisher's site to view sample pages. If you're looking for more nonfiction picture books by Batten and Gonzalez, don't miss Life in a Frozen World: Wildlife of Antarctica.

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