Thursday, December 1, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]


Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures, Rebecca Johnson, 64 pages.

Author Rebecca Johnson invites young readers to accompany her on an exciting voyage to the coral reefs and the darkest depths of the world’s oceans, where incredible new creatures are being discovered every day. Among them are new species of starfish, sea worms, sea cucumbers, lobsters, shrimp, jellyfish, sea urchins, mollusks, mussels, sponges and octopuses.
Through the remarkable photos in Journey into the Deep, readers will come face to face with some extraordinary creatures … tripod fish, which spend most of their time standing on the seabed on their “tripod” fins while waiting for a meal to swim by … zombie worms that feast on the bones of dead whales … an octopus which turns itself inside out … fish whose eyeballs can turn inward (so that they see inside themselves) … methane ice worms, which make their home in methane gas which freezes as it bubbles out of the seabed … a fish with a transparent head … creatures which manufacture their own light in the eternal night of the ocean depths, and many more.
From 2000 to 2010, more than two thousand researchers from 82 countries carried out the largest investigation of ocean life ever attempted, in a project known as the “Census of Marine Life”. An unbelievable number of new creatures were encountered – only a few could be featured in this book. The special vehicles which were used to explore the deep ocean trenches are also described for readers.
How does it feel to view an animal that no one else has ever seen – or even an undiscovered species that as yet has no name? One scientist tells us that it is a thrilling and “humbling” experience.
Author Rebecca Johnson is an avid scuba diver as well as the author of many science books for children and teens.      
** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

Ask a Dinosaur, by the editors of Dorling Kindersley Press, 31 pages.

Children would have many questions to ask dinosaurs, if they could. Could dinosaurs swim? Could they fly? How fast could they run? What noises did they make? Why don’t pictures of dinosaurs show their ears – or did they have ears? What type of dinosaur was the smallest? The largest? The heaviest? And why did the dinosaurs disappear from the earth?
Easy-to-understand answers to these questions can be found in Ask a Dinosaur. Children, who are so often fascinated by these creatures, will discover that from what scientists know now, it appears that the sauropods were the biggest and heaviest dinosaurs – they weighed as much as three elephants, and the ground shook when they walked! Another very large dinosaur, the therizinosaurus, sported claws which were three feet (ninety cm) each! And the smallest dinosaur that’s been discovered by scientists is the mussaurus, which appears to have been no longer than a pencil, and just as slender.
The colourful illustrations, carefully-chosen facts and vocabulary, and a helpful glossary, have resulted in a book which would be very suitable for young dinosaur fans as well as for school-age readers.
A note to the curious: Dinosaurs had holes in the sides of their heads, and their ears were inside these holes, similar to birds.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on December 1st. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.


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