From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3–In addition to learning about sea horses, children will be enticed by the fabulous ocean depths captured in Lawrence's prints. The artist used wood textures to create watery backgrounds for the vinyl engravings of sea plants and animals. Watercolor washes in muted tones of green, blue, and red complete the look. Text that occasionally follows the wavy pattern of an ocean current provides brief but specific descriptions of the small creatures. Additional captions provide tactile depictions: …he has tiny prickles down his back, like a dragon. The narrative focuses on the Barbour's breed with a dozen other types of sea horses illustrated on the endpapers. Facts such as how they move, reproduce, and eat are revealed with concrete details such as [Each] new sea horse is only as long as your eyelash. Images illustrate such concepts as camouflage and the creatures' prehensile tail. Thoroughly engaging, this is a brilliant marriage of art and science.–Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library
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*Starred Review* K-Gr. 2. In stunning pictures and engaging words, this nonfiction picture book explains the facts behind the unusual life cycle alluded to in Eric Carle's Mister Seahorse
(2000). Pairing a central narrative about a male Barbour's sea horse with facts in smaller type, Butterworth first pinpoints the creatures' most immediately appealing attributes ("a head like a horse, a tail like a monkey"), then goes on to discuss the males' gestational role in reproduction and survival tactics of newly independent offspring. Though some statements may require adult elaboration, as when embryos are referred to as the "dots in the eggs," Butterworth has a flair for dynamic writing; children will listen with interest to the dramatic culmination of Sea Horse's birthing efforts, when babies "swirl around him in the water like smoke." Working in the same style that distinguished his artwork in Martin Waddell's Tiny's Big Adventure
(2004), Lawrence has created vinyl engravings that masterfully capture the delicate textures of sea horses' graceful, spiny bodies and of their undersea habitats. Capped by useful endnotes, this is an accomplished entree to early science topics. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved