This sea monster is real. It lurks in the freezing black depths of underwater canyons. Nearly 50 feet long, it hunts with its long arms and tentacles. Its powerful suckers leave giant round scars on those that live through a battle with it. But this enormous beast, with its huge, strange eyes, remains hidden from humans. We rarely see it and know little of its ways. What is this monster? The giant squid. This famed member of the cephalopod group has a history of frightening fishermen, starring in fictional ...
This sea monster is real. It lurks in the freezing black depths of underwater canyons. Nearly 50 feet long, it hunts with its long arms and tentacles. Its powerful suckers leave giant round scars on those that live through a battle with it. But this enormous beast, with its huge, strange eyes, remains hidden from humans. We rarely see it and know little of its ways. What is this monster? The giant squid. This famed member of the cephalopod group has a history of frightening fishermen, starring in fictional adventure tales, and keeping scientists guessing. What is the story of this mythic creature? Why is it so hard to study? What secrets does it keep? Clyde Roper, ocean scientist and squid expert, has been seeking this secretive creature for decades. Come along as he and other researchers unravel its mysteries.
For centuries, sailors, sea captains, and fishermen have told stories of gargantuan sea monsters that have the strength and intelligence to sink ships. From the modern-day reader's armchair, these kinds of tales seem like "fish stories." But are they based on truth? Could the source of inspiration for these tales be an elusive creature that is surprisingly populous, has the largest eyes of any living animal, and possesses an astoundingly fast rate of growth in relation to its lifespan of only one or two years? After reading this installment of the "Smithsonian" series, readers can decide for themselves whether or not history's sea monsters are actually giant squids. Join a teuthologist on his quest to study giant squids in their natural habitat, learn how giant squids are an intrinsic part of ocean ecosystems, and develop a craving for calamari as you devour interesting information about giant squids. Readers of all ages will enjoy this book for its well-presented facts, bright illustrations, and photographs. Also included is a comprehensive glossary, index, lists of squid-related websites, and the names of more books about giant squids. Reviewer: Kim Harris Thacker
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—It took centuries before scientists realized that there was an actual, living creature behind sailors' tales of a colossal sea monster. This introduction briefly recounts some of the legends and historical clues that led to the giant squid's identification in the 19th century before focusing on Dr. Clyde Roper, a renowned specialist on cephalopods (and coauthor) who made it his life's work to study the species; no live specimen had ever been captured or observed in its deep-sea habitat. The text describes how Roper gathered facts by autopsying the carcasses of giant squids and sperm whales (its chief predator), examining other squid species, etc.; it also outlines several expeditions he led in search of a live specimen. It was a Japanese scientist, however, who took the first photographs and filmed the first video of a living giant squid (in 2004 and 2006, respectively), and some of those images are included here. Giant Squid is clearly written, albeit loosely organized. Numerous, oddly placed sidebars with related information detract from the main text, as does the busy format; from one to three illustrations accompany the text on most pages—a jumble of mostly clear black-and-white and color photos, drawings, sketches, etc. H.P. Newquist's Here There Be Monsters: the Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid (Houghton Harcourt, 2010) covers the same topic in more detail and mentions Roper's work, making it a better choice.—Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library
Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.30 (d)
Meet the Author
Mary M. Cerullo has been teaching and writing about the ocean and natural history for 40 years. Her career as an “ocean aficionado” began at the New England Aquarium in Boston and continues today as Associate Director of the conservation organization Friends of Casco Bay/Casco BAYKEEPER® in South Portland, Maine. Describing herself as a “science interpreter,” Mary explains scientific research and environmental issues in ways that children and the general public can understand. Building on her background in marine science, informal education, and communications, she has written 16 nonfiction children’s books, as well as a handbook for teachers on incorporating children’s literature into the science curriculum. Her books have won numerous awards and starred reviews.