From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-Manta rays glide gracefully by as readers follow an old green turtle back to the coral atoll where she was born. The reef is populated with a fascinating variety of creatures. Bright pink anemones hide colorful clownfish. A cleaner shrimp waves its antennae. Sea fans waving in the currents provide homes for cowrie snails and tiny blenny fish. This fact-filled book assumes that youngsters already have a basic knowledge of coral reefs. References to "plankton filled waters" do not hint at what plankton is, and descriptions such as "a butterfly fish nips at some of the sea star's tube feet" assumes a certain understanding of starfish anatomy. The lack of either a glossary or an index narrows the book's appeal considerably. The full-color photographs are occasionally marred by chapter headings that are printed directly on them, causing both visual and verbal confusion. For example, "The Coral Reef" is printed on a closeup of coral polyps rather than a picture of an actual reef. Mysterious, multi-colored lines wind their way through the text, further obstructing visibility and adding to the cluttered look. One comes away feeling a distinct lack of focus. As the turtle reaches her ultimate destination (a beach to lay her eggs), it isn't clear whether she or the reef is the focus. Mary E. Cerullo's outstanding Coral Reef (Cobblehill, 1996) covers the same subject much better.Lisa Wu Stowe, Great Neck Library, NY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-6, younger for reading aloud. The names alone--fairy basslets, Caesar grunts--hint at the mysterious nature of the world under the sea presented here. Drawing on his extensive diving and photography experience to sort out the various animals that populate the territory around a coral reef, Wu wraps facts around the story of a sea turtle working its way toward sand to lay its eggs. The device sometimes seems clumsy, but the information conveyed will fascinate readers, as will the brilliant colors, patterns, and body shapes of the sea creatures that are captured in numerous close-up pictures. Susan Dove Lempke