From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Simon examines the things that are "most," pertaining to oceans: the tallest sea mounts, the largest waves, the highest tides in the world, the most dangerous and largest animals, the coldest and warmest waters, the biggest storms and tsunamis, and the longest journeys, as well as a closing chapter predicting scenarios if sea levels continue to rise. He strikes a good balance of text and vibrant color photographs that appear on almost every page to reveal a hidden world of action and beauty that will encourage children to investigate the physical characteristics, life-forms, and fragility of the world's oceans. Perhaps the most engaging chapter is the one in which readers are introduced to some of the biggest animals and are shown how they navigate, what they eat, and where they live. Photos are displayed next to boxes of concise text in addition to the descriptive narrative that makes up the majority of the book. For example, next to a full-page photo of an ocean wave, the text asks readers to "imagine being caught at sea in a small ship in the middle of a monster storm," which was the fate of the Andrea Gail in 1991. This book will appeal particularly to young scientists who are interested in nature and animals as well as to those who are pulled in by dangerous scenarios and esoteric facts. The book's strength lies in its ability to introduce these audiences to the vulnerability of oceans and marine ecologies as a result of climate change.-Anne Barreca, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
More informative than most children’s books with extreme in the title, Simon’s latest book emphasizes superlatives and high-interest topics related to the world’s oceans, while supplying the basic knowledge that gives the extremes a meaningful context. For instance, an explanation of what causes tides precedes a description of the world’s highest tides, found in the Bay of Fundy. Fully illustrated four-page sections present a broad spectrum of subjects, such as the largest ocean animals, the longest marine migrations, conditions and creatures in the deepest waters, the El Niño and La Niña phenomena, storms at sea, tsunamis, and climate change. On the double-page spreads, about the same amount of space is devoted to information and illustration. Apart from an occasional note of a photo’s locale, there are no captions even where they would be useful, but the photos generally work well to illustrate the text. Introducing oceans without presuming much prior knowledge, this is a solid addition to science collections. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan