Children's LiteratureThis beautiful book by the Smithsonian Institution provides readers with an in-depth look at the fascinating lives of seahorses. In the Danagon Bank of a barrier reef in the waters off the Central Philippines, the lives of seahorses take on a strange beginning. The mating process is fully described; the seahorse and his mate meet and the female's bright orange eggs are deposited in the male's swollen and waiting pouch where they begin to grow. The female swims away and only the male seahorse will nourish the growing life inside his pouch. The seahorse spends most of the time on the lookout for food, eating tiny creatures that swim by. His gills allow him to take in the oxygen from the water. A seahorse's colors protect him from enemies such as the stingray and many different crabs. Readers will meet the full array of life on the reef including the octopus, parrotfish and the coral itself where the seahorse hides. The seahorse finally gives birth to the hundreds of baby seahorses in his pouch. He rests and soon the process will begin again. Endnotes include more information about seahorses, a glossary and explanations of creatures in the beautifully colored, full-page illustrations. The book is an intriguing look into the life of a seahorse and its habitat. Young readers will be entertained, amazed and informed by this important resource book. 2001, Soundprints, $15.95 and $4.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Sue Reichard
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 2-A few days in the life of a seahorse in the Danajon Bank in the Philippines are the focus of this nature study. The seahorse, his mate, and the other creatures of the reef are portrayed in bright, realistic paintings that capture the colorful underwater world. The text identifies the animals and describes their behaviors. Mating and birth, protective coloration, and predators and prey are all addressed. Although there is no index, the book is potentially useful for research. The text is smooth enough to sread aloud or alone in one sitting. An endnote tells of the devastation of the seahorse population and the efforts being made for its preservation.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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