Esther Williams would have been right at home in these effulgent Technicolor watereolors that depict the many and varied denizens of the deep. Occupying most of their spreads, each of BrownWing's paintings is bordered by a vertical column of text, beneath which are spot illustrations of indigenous flora and fauna. Muzik's straightforward prose works nicely for the intended age range, using exclamatory sentences for exuberant emphasis (Quick, tiny polyps, hide!) and even employing a storyline of sorts-a planula, or baby coral, searches the reef's many nooks and crannies for a suitable home. And as it hunts, ellipses cleverly lure youngsters to the next page: The planula catches a current to. . . Though the ecological messages here may at first seem a bit heavy-handed, grown-ups should realize that it's never too early to impart such critical lessons. Ages 3-8. (Aug.)
- Meredith Kiger
An excellent book to introduce children (or adults) to the wonders of a coral reef environment. Colorful paintings capture the variety and strangeness of an undersea world few young people know about. The use of extensive vocabulary in simple story-like text makes the reader a part of the ecological chain of life on earth. Highlighting of various plants and animals adds additional interest for developing young environmentalists. Our responsibility for maintaining all environments is a theme throughout. 1995 (orig.
Katy Muzik is a marine biologist who specializes in octocorals-- commonly known as sea fans. She has dived on coral reefs all over the world, including Fuji, Japan, Australia, and throughout the Caribbean.