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Children's LiteratureWhen we think of echinoderms--starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers--we often think of what they are not and do not do: none live on land or in fresh water. None, as adults, swim actively, and none live anywhere but the sea bottom, fixing themselves onto rocks or slowly sliding along the seabed. Yet these creatures are fascinating: they are among the most common critters on Earth and they are an ancient animal that used to number about twenty classes, of which only five exist today. This book, part of the "Animal Kingdom Classification" series, explores echinoderms with clear, readable text, lively format, and stunning photography. Chapters include anatomy (with simple charts or drawings), what echinoderms are, their prehistoric origins, habitats, how they move, predator-prey interaction, reproduction, and life stages. Specific chapters explore starfish and starfish types, brittle stars (different from starfish), sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea lilies, and sea fans (those beautiful creatures that are often mistaken for colorful, exotic palm-like plants). Text also features information on echinoderm relatives--creatures that share common internal features and fill the gap between vertebrates and invertebrates. Another chapter includes giants, such as a sea cucumber, which can grow to ten feet; giant starfish; a sea urchin off the Japanese coast whose test (without spines) can be big as three feet in diameter; and starfish tinier than a child's fingernail. The final chapter, "Echinoderms and People," points out how starfish are dried and sold to tourists, plus how sea urchins, sea urchin roe, and sea cucumbers are valued as food in many cultures. The beautifully done book includes aglossary, further resources, a classification chart, and an index. 2006, Capstone/Compass Point Books, Ages 9 to 12.