Children's LiteratureAnyone over eight years old should be intrigued by this book. While some books allow dynamite illustrations to do most of the job, this one relies on its skilled author to convey the stories of many ground-breaking marine scientists on Lizard Island, just off Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), a chain of 2,800 separate reefs, stretching 1,200 miles along the eastern coastline. (The illustrations are fine, just not dominant.) Here at the GBR, 2,200 different fishes (a term indicating multiple species of fish), 340 coral species, tens of thousands of other invertebrates, six of the seven kinds of known sea turtles, hundreds of sea birds, manatees and dugongs grazing on seagrass meadows, plus humpback whales and porpoises out in the Coral Seaphew!provide scientists with rich territory for study. No book can cover all that happens at the Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS), so the author focuses on the scientists and reef studies most apt to interest young peoplethe makeup of the Reef itself; parrotfish munching on the reef and all defecating in a communal toilet area; survival of the coral fish larvae (amazing swimmers); the part algae plays in the makeup of the reef (basically holding the reef together); fish that mimic other fish to avoid predators; and the current crises in reefs worldwide due to global warming and human impacts. This title features highly interesting commentary by the LIRS scientists as they conduct research, along with "Coral Reef Briefs" that explore smaller, yet fascinating topics. An outstanding glossary, book list and eight Internet sites complete the booka winner in all respects. 2000, Franklin Watts, $26.00 and $12.95. Ages 8 up.Reviewer: Joan Carris
VOYAExploring marine science on Australia's Great Barrier Reef through the voices and eyes of some of the researchers who work there, Collard provides a personal and engaging window to a spectacular natural wonder. The book captures the excitement of scientific invention and discovery as the researchers explain how they learn through accidental mistakes, by figuring out how to make or do something without any instructions, or just from a lifetime of observing a single species. The unpretentious writing makes the book a fun read, and its conversational tone gives the reader the feeling of being on a cook's tourgoing where the average reader usually does not get to go. Short sections interspersed in the text address related topics, such as a bio of the founding father of Australian marine biology or a discussion of the difference between the terms fish and fishesas defined by scientists. Black-and-white and color photos have the unposed charm and fuzziness of home snapshots. The author concludes with a chapter on environmental threats to reefs, and he urges readers to help protect these ecosystems, from not collecting coral reef products and conserving electricity to voting for environmentally friendly politicians, as soon as teens are able. Glossary. Index. Photos. Maps. Further Reading. VOYA CODES:4Q 2P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses;For the YA with a special interest in the subject;Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Franklin Watts, 144p, $26. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer:Dolores MaminskiVOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 6-10-Collard mixes science with personal narrative so that the scientists who study the life-forms surrounding the Great Barrier Reef are humanized and the reasons behind their research are combined with real-life experiences. The text is often written in a suspenseful manner, and is likely to attract students. The writing is clear, and should appeal to reluctant readers. While the narrative style doesn't lend itself to serious research, the index is comprehensive, thus leading readers to specific subjects. The text is sprinkled with black-and-white photos, many small and not of good contrast, and there are two sections of full-color photos. The illustrations help illuminate some of the material covered. A good tie-in to units on sea life or Australia.-Laura Younkin, Ballard High School, Louisville, KY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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