City Fish, Country Fish

Overview

Some people live in the country, close to the land, where they enjoy peace and quiet. Others live in high-rise apartments in the city and love the hustle and bustle of crowds and non-stop activity, both day and night. In the ocean, too, there are places that have some of the characteristics of "the country" or as "the city." Like the classic tale of The City Mouse and the Country Mouse there are advantages and disadvantages to each habitat.

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Overview

Some people live in the country, close to the land, where they enjoy peace and quiet. Others live in high-rise apartments in the city and love the hustle and bustle of crowds and non-stop activity, both day and night. In the ocean, too, there are places that have some of the characteristics of "the country" or as "the city." Like the classic tale of The City Mouse and the Country Mouse there are advantages and disadvantages to each habitat.

We'll compare how the fishes that live in tropical seas ("the city") and those that swim through cold oceans ("the country") meet the challenges and opportunities of their own ecosystems. We will examine how color, shape, and size, as well as behaviors and adaptations, help them survive in their particular habitat. We'll explore characteristics that make them different, as well as things that make them the same.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
At first glance, the title is a bit of a puzzle. Is this another take on the fable of the City Mouse and the Country Mouse? Not exactly, but it does have a bearing on that old fable. One lesson that both the city and country mouse learns is that, whether it be the city or country, they each have habitat preferences since both have their advantages and disadvantages. So, too do habitats for fish, be it "city" (tropical seas) or "country" (cold oceans). A fish is a fish, but you cannot take one from a warm tropical sea and expect it to survive in the cold oceans of the arctic. This book, with its remarkable photographic illustrations and lively format, discusses tropical "bioregions"—warm, blue clear water, coral reefs with an abundance of bright colors everywhere. Fish may be brightly colored to attract mates or warn predators that they are deadly snacks. Since they rarely swim far, their shapes lend themselves to quick darts of speed and fast stopping. On the other hand, cold oceans are breeding grounds for plankton, so water isn't clear or tropical blue. "Country" fish that live in extreme cold may have bodies designed for swimming long distances, lying flat and blending with the sandy ocean floor or schooling behavior that keeps them safer than solitary swimming. Sometimes cooperating is the key, as in the case of a clown fish and anemone. As the author points out, the bottom line is survival: find food or avoid becoming food for another sea-dweller. Just as life in the city is bustling, busy and diverse, so is the world of coral reefs. Day and night change those worlds and fish have to adapt to whichever "shifts" they "work" in. Changes in cold oceans are slower so that the rhythm of life depends on 365 days rather than 24 hours. And so on. This is an intriguing way to explain habitat selection to young readers. The book includes an extensive glossary as well as "Diving Deeper," a list of books for further study. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Cerullo contrasts the lives of fish in tropical waters with those of their relatives in colder ocean regions. She explores differences in coloration, feeding habits, body shape, and survival techniques between the "city fish" that inhabit coral reefs and "swim in water as warm as a swimming pool" and the "country fish" that swim through large underwater territories and cool waters. She also explains characteristics that all fish share and discusses how humans study the ocean. A final spread details the need to protect this important resource. Rotman's outstanding photos illuminate the underwater world with close-up views of tiny reef dwellers and unusual cold-water inhabitants such as the goosefish. Wider shots reveal the colorful bustle of reef life and schools of cold-water fish, including bluefin tuna. Design and layout reinforce the contrasts Cerullo identifies, making this a first-rate choice for browsers as well as students interested in ocean life.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780884483236
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/9/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 712,260
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Cerullo decided at thirteen that she ought to become an oceanographer. Although her career has always centered around the ocean, she discovered that she preferred exploring many different topics, which led her to teach and write about the ocean instead. She has written fourteen nonfiction books for children on ocean life. She likes to immerse herself in her topic, so a few years ago Mary accompanied Jeff on an underwater dive with ten Caribbean reef sharks. Mary's "day job" is associate director of Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental group in South Portland, Maine.

Jeff Rotman started photographing ocean animals as a way to capture the attention of his middle-school students. As a reward when they finished their assignments, he would show them the slides he had taken underwater. He eventually gave up teaching to devote himself to underwater photography. His work has appeared in many popular magazines and books, both for children and adults. Some of his books include a coffee table book of his shark photos and a retrospective of his work.

For Teachers Take Note suggestions for using this book in the classroom, please visit www.tilburyhouse.com.

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