Think anemones are enemies? Readers can get the facts with the paper-over-board The Truth About Dangerous Sea Creatures by Mary Cerullo, illus. by Michael Wertz. This follow-up to The Truth About Great White Sharks is rife with underwater photographs by Jeffrey Rotman. The book debunks myths about many unjustly maligned sea animals, while on the other hand educating readers about many octopi, urchins and fish that are fully deserving of their nasty reputations. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Every summer we read about shark attacks, or hear about sea jelly stings; we view grade B horror movies about giant clams and menacing giant squids. Is the ocean a large, watery community filled with scary monsters waiting to get the next hapless swimmer or diver? Cerullo not only discusses such creatures as jellies, anemones, various sharks, eel, barracudas and rays, but she puts them—and humans—in a common sense context: divers and swimmers are, in effect, trespassers in a watery world whose inhabitants humankind does not understand. She quotes shark scientist, Dr. Eugenie Clark: "Be polite," meaning that people are guests in sea creatures' underwater homes, so good manners could save your life. This means look but don't touch; don't swim in murky water or at dawn or dusk when predators hunt; wear sneakers or water shoes and shuffle your feet to scare up such creatures as stingrays that rest on the seabed. This is a well-done, colorfully illustrated book with prevention hints, glossary, bibliography and websites. It is a remarkable book for library or classroom reference—or reading before we watch another creature feature. 2003, Chronicle Books, Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This book looks at a variety of "dangerous" sea animals, such as sharks, jellies, and a giant squid, and provides readers with solid information. Without playing down their threatening features, Cerullo introduces a different sea dweller on each spread and examines both the myths and realities about it. For example, people fear the giant octopus because of its size, but in reality the smallest octopus, the blue-ringed, is the one that can be lethal to humans. The language is sophisticated enough to make this selection suitable for older readers, but the amount of text is brief enough to keep the material accessible. Full-color photos and childlike drawings add a lot of visual appeal. The final pages include a "Helpful Hints" section of advice on what readers should do if they encounter a dangerous creature. Three of the four titles in the bibliography are previous works by the author, and this book borrows some of its material (particularly photos) from them. There is not enough detail here to make this title useful for reports, but it will attract general readers.-Arwen Marshall, Minneapolis Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Oceanographer Cerullo provides a potpourri of odd facts about 25 sea creatures, including lionfish, giant octopus, jellies, stingrays, and tiger sharks. While many of the full-color underwater photos are appealing, the busy format detracts. Each double-page spread includes several paragraphs of text against a brightly colored background, photos, and banal cartoon-like line drawings. Photos cropped and dropped into the layout in a variety of boxes and bubbles offer no information on the size of creatures shown, so the reader is not sure whether the sea snake is larger than a moray eel, or whether a grouper is actually four times the size of a human diver. The author concludes with "helpful hints." If you get injured exploring the ocean, for instance, she suggests calling "a doctor or poison control center." Hardly earth-shattering. (glossary, further reading, Web sites, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)