From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6–Although Collard provides a basic introduction to other animals found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, he concentrates on its variety of corals. In particular, he describes the mass spawning that occurs every spring. On one night, more than 100 species release millions of eggs and trillions of sperm. By morning, those coral from the same species have united to form thousands of larvae that drift on the ocean. Those that escape predators and reach a reef attach themselves and undergo a metamorphosis into a coral polyp. Brickman created colorful three-dimensional illustrations by painting and sculpting paper, and these layered textures work well with the subject. For example, hungry fish trying to eat larvae can barely be seen through the multicolored masses of tiny creatures floating around and over them. Although limited information about mass spawning appears in some books for older readers such as Collard's Lizard Island
(Watts, 2000), most titles for younger readers about coral reefs provide a basic, general introduction to the ecosystem. Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's general overview in Colorful Captivating Coral Reefs
(Walker, 2003) would work well with Collard's introduction to an amazing event that scientists discovered little more than 20 years ago.–Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Gr. 3-5. On a single spring night, after a full moon, the coral in the Great Barrier Reef releases millions of eggs into the ocean. Veteran science writer Collard explains the unique spawning event and provides some background about coral and the sea creatures that share the reef. His text is mostly clear and direct; still, younger children, particularly those who haven't encountered basic reproductive concepts, will need help grasping the science. But whether or not children understand the specifics of fertilization, they will be captivated by Brickman's realistic, astonishingly detailed colored-paper collages of the brilliant underwater world. A closing image of a silvery moon illuminating dolphins splashing through a placid sea extends the shivery sense of mysterious, fascinating life teeming beneath the surface. Further information, a glossary, and resources are appended. Teachers may want to pair this with Lawrence Pringle's Coral Reefs
(1995), which features excellent color photographs that will partner nicely with Brickman's collages. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved